A non-citizen may receive Supplementary Security Income (SSI) if he or she meets the requirements of the laws for non-citizens
that went into effect on August 22, 1996 and all the other requirements for SSI eligibility, such as the limits on income
In general, beginning August 22, 1996, most non-citizens must meet 2 requirements to be potentially eligible
1. Be in a "qualified alien" category, and
2. Meet a condition that allows qualified aliens
to get SSI.
There are 8 categories of “qualified aliens.” The categories are:
1. Lawfully admitted
for permanent residence in the U.S. (“LAPR”), including certain "Amerasian immigrants":
Entrants" under the law in effect before April 1,1980;
3. Paroled into the U.S. for certain reasons for a period
of one year or more;
5. Granted asylum;
6. Deportation or removal is being withheld for certain
7. Cuban and Haitian entrant under the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980; or
8. One of certain
aliens who have been subjected to battery or extreme cruelty or whose child or parent has been subjected to battery or extreme
A "qualified alien" is potentially eligible for SSI if he or she meets one of the following conditions:
Was receiving SSI on August 22, 1996 and is lawfully residing in the U.S.;
2. Is lawfully admitted for permanent residence
and has 40 qualifying quarters of work. Work done by a spouse or parent may be counted toward the 40 quarters of work. Some
restrictions may apply if the non-citizen or the working spouse or parent received certain Federally funded benefits after
December 31, 1996;
IMPORTANT: If you entered the U.S. on or after 8/22/96, then you may not be eligible for SSI for
the first five years as an LAPR even if you have 40 qualifying quarters of earnings.
3. Is an active duty member of
the U.S. armed forces, one of certain honorably discharged veterans, or one of certain dependents of U.S. military personnel;
4. Was lawfully residing in the United States on August 22, 1996 and is blind or disabled;
5. Filed for SSI within
7 years of being granted status as a refugee, asylee, Cuban and Haitian entrant, Amerasian Immigrant, or deportation or removal
is being withheld.
A qualified alien in one of these categories may be eligible for a maximum of 7 years from the date
status was granted. If a qualified alien in one of these categories also meets one of the conditions listed above, then SSI
can continue beyond the 7- year period. In addition to qualified aliens who must meet a condition for eligibility, there are
certain categories of non-citizens who are exempt from the August 22, 1996 laws for non-citizens, and thus are potentially
eligible for SSI. These categories include certain Canadian-born American Indians and non-citizen members of a Federally recognized
American Indian tribe.
A noncitizen may also be eligible under certain circumstances if the Department of Health and
Human Services determines that he or she meets the requirements of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
local Social Security office can tell you whether you are eligible. For more information, you may want to call our toll-free
number, 1-800-772-1213, and ask for our fact sheet called "Supplemental Security Income for Non-citizens," publication
number 05-11051. This is also available on the Internet at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/11051.html
The third requirement is that you must be financially eligible. This means you must have
a limited amount of resources and income. This section can be extremely confusing so if you want to know if you qualify
you can just call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213. There are four types of income.
Earned Incomeis wages, earnings from self–employment, certain royalties and honoraria,
and sheltered workshop payments.
Unearned Income is all income that is not
earned, such as Social Security benefits, pensions, State disability payments, unemployment benefits, interest income, and
cash from friends and relatives.
In–Kind Income is food or shelter that
you get for free or less than its fair market value.
Deemed Incomeis the part
of the income of your spouse with whom you live, your parent(s) with whom you live, or your sponsor (if you are an alien),
which Social Security will use to compute your SSI benefit amount.
Generally, the more income you have, the
less your SSI benefit will be. If your countable income is over the allowable limit, you cannot receive SSI benefits. Some
of your income may not count as income for the SSI program. For more information on Income and what counts click
here. Be sure to bookmark this site first.
Countable resources must not exceed $2,000 for an individual or
$3,000 for a couple living together.
Resources are things you own like cash, bank accounts, stocks, land, personal property,
vehicles, anything else that can be exchanged for cash to pay for food or shelter, and deemed resources. What are deemed
resources? Sometimes Social Security will deem a portion of the resources of a spouse guardian or sponsor of an alien
as belonging to the person filling for SSI. Not all Resources count. For more information on resources click here.
So now you think you are eligible for SSI but how does your income affect your SSI benefits?
How much can you get?
Step 1: Social Security will subtract any income
that they do not count from your total gross income. The remaining amount is your "countable
Step 2: Social Security will subtract your "countable income" from the
SSI Federal benefit rate. The result is your monthly SSI benefit as follows:
1) Your Total Income
-Your income that we do not count
=Your countable income
Federal benefit rate
-Your countable income
=Your SSI Federal benefit
One more important thing. Your living arrangements
can affect how much you can get in SSI. If you are considered living in the household of another you will get less money
than if you are considered living alone. To be considered living alone you need to be paying for your portion of
rent or food or both.
FOR A FREE CASE EVALUATION
If you are now getting SSI you must report any changes. The following are changes
you must report to Social Security:
If you move or change your address.
If you change direct deposit
If someone moves into your household.
If there is a change in your income or family members income.
If there is a change in your resources.
If you get help with living expenses.
If you enter or leave an institution.
If you get married separated or divorced.
If you change your name.
If you become a parent.
If you leave the
If you have an outstanding warrant for your arrest.
If you violate condition of parole or probation.
you are a sponsored non-citizen.
If you are age 18 to 22 and start or stop attending school.
If a person getting
SSI is not able to manage funds.
If a person getting SSI dies.
If your immigration status changes.
If you get
If you don't report these changes to Social Security you could receive a penalty or sanctions.
A penalty will cause you to lose money from your payments. If you get a sanction Social Security may stop your payments
from 6 to 24 months.