Research & Analysis by Thomas M. Parrott
Noncitizens and the Supplemental Security Income Program
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, established by the Social Security Amendments of 1972 (Public Law 92-603), was designed to provide cash assistance to needy aged, blind, and disabled citizens, and noncitizens lawfully admitted for permanent residence or permanently residing under color of law. Since then, this means-tested program has undergone many legislative changes that affect the eligibility status of noncitizens. This article, presented in three parts, discusses the legislative history of noncitizen eligibility, and details relevant laws enacted since the program's inception; provides current data on the trends and changes of the noncitizen population; and describes the larger population of foreign-born SSI recipients, of which the noncitizens are a part. Data on the number of SSI recipients born abroad but who had become citizens before applying for SSI payments were not previously available. Analytical data are from the Supplemental Security Record (SSR) matched to the Social Security Number Identification (Numident) file.