Generally you need to be a U.S. Citizen to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
However, if you are a noncitizen in one of certain immigration categories granted by the Department of Homeland Security, you may be eligible for SSI if:
• You were lawfully living in the United States on August 22, 1996, and you are blind or disabled;
• You were receiving SSI on August 22, 1996, and you are lawfully living in the United States; or
• You were lawfully admitted for permanent residence under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and have a total of 40 credits of work in the United States. (Your spouse’s or parent’s work also may count.)
Please note that if you entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996, then you may not be eligible for SSI for the first five years as a lawfully admitted permanent resident even if you have 40 qualifying credits of earnings.
Some other noncitizens who may be eligible for SSI payments are:
•Active duty members of the U.S. armed forces;
•Noncitizen members of federally recognized Indian tribes;
•Certain noncitizens admitted as Amerasian immigrants; and
•Cuban/Haitian entrants under the Refugee Education Assistance Act.
Posted by Sheri R. Abrams, Attorney at Law, www.sheriabrams.com