2115.Citizenship/Alien Status

2115.1How does an individual become a U.S. citizen?

You are a U.S. citizen either by birth or by naturalization (see 1725).

2115.2How is an alien eligible for SSI benefits?

A qualified alien can be eligible for SSI benefits if he or she meets one of the categories listed in “A” through “H” below:

  1. Who is lawfully admitted for permanent residence (LAPR), and:

    1. Has 40 qualifying quarters of creditable work; or

    2. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or

    3. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    4. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96; or

    5. Was granted one of the alien classifications listed below within the last seven years:

      1. Refugee under section 207 of the INA;

      2. Asylee under section 208 of the INA;

      3. Alien whose deportation is being withheld under section 243(h) of the INA or whose removal has been withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the INA;

      4. Cuban/Haitian entrant under one of the categories in Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980 or alien in a status that is to be treated as a Cuban/Haitian entrant for SSI purposes (see SI 00502.108B.); or

      5. Amerasian immigrants under section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1988.

  2. Refugee under section 207 of the INA and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military, or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96; or

    4. Was granted refugee status under section 207 0f the INA within the last seven years.

  3. Granted asylum under section 208 of the INA and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96; or

    4. Was granted asylum within the last seven years.

  4. Deportation withheld under section 243(h) of the INA or removal withheld under section 241(b)(3) of the INA and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or:

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96; or

    4. Deportation or removal was withheld within the last seven years.

  5. Conditional entrant under section 203(a)(7) of the INA and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96.

  6. Paroled into the U.S. for one year or more under section 212(d)(5) of the INA and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U. S. military; or

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96; or

    4. Was granted Cuban/Haitian entrant status within the last 7 years or was granted a status that is to be treated as a Cuban/Haitian entrant for SSI purposes (see SI 00502.108B.) within the last 7 years.

  7. Cuban/Haitian entrant under Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education and Assistance Act of 1980 and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96; or

    4. Was granted Cuban/Haitian entrant status within the last seven years or was granted a status that is to be treated as a Cuban/Haitian entrant for SSI purposes (see SI 00502.108B.) within the last 7 years.

  8. Battered spouse or child who petitioned for status as a lawfully admitted permanent resident under section 204(a)(1)(A)(i)-(iv) or 204(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iii) of the INA, or suspension of deportation under section 244(a)(3) or 240A(b)(2) of the INA, and:

    1. Is a veteran, active duty member of the U.S. military or a spouse or dependant child of a veteran or member of the U.S. military; or

    2. Was lawfully residing in the United States on 8/22/96 and is blind or disabled; or

    3. Is lawfully residing in the United States and was receiving SSI on 8/22/96.

Certain other aliens who are not qualified aliens may also get SSI. They include:

Last Revised: Sep. 1, 2009