UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES MAY A NONCITIZEN BE ELIGIBLE FOR SSI?
A noncitizen (also called an "alien" for immigration purposes) may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she meets the requirements of the laws for noncitizens that went into effect on August 22, 1996. In general, beginning August 22, 1996, most noncitizens must meet two requirements to be potentially eligible for SSI:
be in a qualified alien category; and
meet a condition that allows qualified aliens to get SSI.
WHO IS A QUALIFIED ALIEN?
There are 7 categories of qualified aliens. You are a qualified alien if the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says you are in one of these categories:
In addition, you can be a “deemed qualified alien” if, under certain circumstances, you, your child, or your parent were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by a family member while in the United States.
UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS MAY A "QUALIFIED ALIEN" BE ELIGIBLE FOR SSI BENEFITS?
If you are in one of the 7 "qualified alien" categories listed above, you may be eligible for SSI if you also meet one of the following conditions:
Work done by your spouse or parent may also count toward the 40 quarters of work, but only for getting SSI.
Quarters of work earned after December 31, 1996, cannot be counted if you, your spouse, or your parent who worked, received certain benefits from the United States government, based on limited income and resources during that period.
IMPORTANT: If you entered the United States on or after August 22, 1996, then you may not be eligible for SSI for the first five years as a LAPR even if you have 40 qualifying quarters of coverage.
Refugee under Section 207 of the INA;
Asylee under Section 208 of the INA;
Noncitizen whose deportation was withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA or whose removal is withheld under Section 241(b)(3) of the INA;
"Cuban or Haitian entrant" under Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 or in a status that is to be treated as a "Cuban or Haitian entrant" for SSI purposes; or
"Amerasian immigrant" pursuant to P.L. 100-202, with a class of admission of AM-1 through AM-8.
ADDITIONAL ELIGIBLE NONCITIZEN CATEGORIES
Victims of Severe Forms of Human trafficking: You may be eligible for SSI under certain circumstances if the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/) and the Department of Homeland Security determines that you meet the requirements of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000.
Iraqi and Afghan Special Immigrants: If you are an Iraqi or Afghan national who was admitted to the U.S. as a special immigrant, you may qualify for seven years of SSI benefits if you served as a translator or interpreter for the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq or Afghanistan or if you worked for the U.S. government in Iraq.
Afghan humanitarian parolee or Afghan Non-Special Immigrant Parolee: You may qualify for SSI if you are an Afghan humanitarian parolee or Afghan non-special immigrant parolee. On September 30, 2021, Congress passed the Afghanistan Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022 (Public Law 117-43) and Section 2502 of this legislation provides that Afghan humanitarian parolees, known as Non-Special Immigrant Parolees, may qualify for SSI until March 31, 2023, or until the end of their parole period, whichever is later.
Ukrainian humanitarian parolee: You may qualify for SSI if you are a Ukraine humanitarian parolee and were paroled between February 24, 2022 and September 30, 2023 (or paroled after September 30, 2023 if you are the spouse or child of such an individual), you may qualify for SSI until the end of your parole period.
WE NEED PROOF OF YOUR IMMIGRATION STATUS
If you apply for SSI benefits, you must give us proof of your immigration status, such as a current DHS admission/departure Form I-94, Form I-551, or an order from an immigration judge showing withholding of removal or granting asylum.
If you have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, you may also need to give us proof of military service such as U.S. military discharge papers (DD Form 214) showing an honorable discharge.
Your local Social Security office can tell you what other types of evidence you can submit to prove your noncitizen status.
WHAT IF YOU HAVE A SPONSOR?
When you entered the U.S., you may have had someone sign an agreement with DHS to provide support for you. We call this agreement an affidavit of support, and we call the person who signs it your sponsor. If you have a sponsor, we generally will count their (and their spouse's) income and resources as your income and resources. Your local Social Security office can give you more information about these rules and how they apply in your case.
BECOMING A U.S. CITIZEN
You can get more information about becoming a U.S. citizen by writing or visiting the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website at www.uscis.gov or calling 1-800-870-3676 to get an application package for naturalization (DHS Form N-400).
THIS INFORMATION IS GENERAL.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CALL 1–800–772–1213 (TTY 1–800–325–0778),
VISIT OUR WEBSITE (www.ssa.gov) ON THE INTERNET,
OR CONTACT YOUR LOCAL SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE.