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I Am a Legal Immigrant; Will I Be Able to Apply for Benefits?

Yes, if you are a legal immigrant, you will likely be able to apply for benefits. In general, you must be a U.S. citizen or qualifying legal resident to get disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. These disability benefits are available through the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs.

Immigrants who live legally in the United States and have the proper work documentation may be able to get SSDI benefits, if they meet certain criteria. They must also meet all other medical and technical qualifications.

To get SSDI approval as a non-citizen, you will need to:

  • Have a Social Security number that authorizes you to work in the United States; and
  • Have a Social Security number that you received during 2004 or after;
  • Hold a B-1, D-1, or D-2 visa; and
  • Prove you were in the United States for the months you are requesting benefits

In some cases, those who have the correct documentation and authorization to work in the United States may still not qualify for benefits. This is because some are exempt from paying Social Security taxes because of their status. If you do not pay into Social Security, you will not qualify for SSDI benefits. Only those who pay Social Security taxes will have the work credits necessary to qualify for disability payments.

When it comes to getting Supplemental Security Income benefits, qualifying as an immigrant becomes even more complicated. The Social Security Administration outlines strict guidelines about who can get these benefits. In general, there are eight categories of immigrants who may qualify:

  • Permanent residents of the United States
  • Green Card holders
  • Immigrants who entered the United States before April 1980 and were conditionally admitted
  • A parolee in the United States for a year or longer
  • Refugees
  • Asylees
  • Haitian or Cuban refugees who entered under the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980
  • Others who may qualify for benefits include:
  • Native Americans who are members of a federally-recognized tribe; and
  • Who were born in Canada
  • Immigrants from Afghanistan or Iraq who assisted the U.S. government and/or military
  • Some human trafficking victims

If you meet the qualifications under one of these categories, you will still need to meet the SSI income and asset qualifications. These qualifications are very strict, although there are some assets that the Social Security Administration exempts from the count. This includes your home, car, and tools you use for a living.

Let Kalfus & Nachman Help You Fight for Disability Benefits

The Social Security disability lawyers from Kalfus & Nachman can help you understand what it takes to get the disability benefits you need. We can help you understand the criteria, prepare your claim, and file for benefits on your behalf. If the Social Security Administration denies your initial claim, we can also handle your appeal if time permits and fight for the disability benefits you deserve.

Our team has decades of experience helping Virginia residents get the Social Security Disability benefits they need and deserve. Let us help you today. We can:

  • Double-check your application
  • Gather information about your doctors and clinics on your behalf
  • File your claim with the local field office
  • Request an appeals hearing, if necessary
  • Represent you before the administrative law judge
  • Argue for the benefits you deserve
  • Fight for monthly benefits and back pay for you
  • Continue the appeals process, if necessary

Call our team today at (855) 880-8163 to get started.

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