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Can I get SSI benefits if I am not a U.S. citizen?

People in Oklahoma who are not U.S. citizens but are in the country legally should be aware that they can get Supplemental Security Income if they meet the requirements. Since SSI is for people who fall under certain income requirements, are blind or are 65 or older, these benefits can be beneficial. For noncitizens, it is vital to understand how to qualify.

One of the following must be in place: the person must have been residing in the U.S. on August 22, 1996 and be blind or disabled, he or she must have been getting SSI on August 22, 1996 and living in the U.S. legally or he or she must have been legally admitted under the Immigration and Nationality Act and have 40 work credits in the U.S. Those who entered the U.S. on or after August 22, 1996 might not be able to get SSI for the first five years of legal residence.

Other noncitizens who might be eligible for SSI benefits are the following: those on active duty in the U.S. armed forces, those who are noncitizens but are members of federally recognized Indian tribes, noncitizens who were admitted into the U.S. as Amerasian immigrants, Cubans or Haitians who came in under the Refugee Education Assistance Act, certain people who were victims of human trafficking and Afghan or Iraqi special immigrants. Certain noncitizens can only get SSI for seven years. Those who fall into this category will be informed via letter from the Social Security Administration.

Those who want to apply for SSI as noncitizens and former military members must prove their status. People who are receiving Medicaid with their SSI should have the ability to receive both while getting SSI. For those who are not eligible noncitizens and could not get SSI because of that can reapply once they are eligible. It might come as a surprise to many noncitizens that they can seek and be approved for SSI benefits. They can if they meet the criteria. If there are questions or help is needed to receive SSI Supplemental Security Income, a lawyer can provide assistance and advice.

Source: ssa.gov, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for Noncitizens," accessed on Sept. 4, 2017

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The Law Center for Social
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