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Non-citizens eligible for SSI benefits

Published on January 4th, 2013

Despite the fact that the2012 presidential election is long behind us, many people in the United States-including some here in Illinois-are still feeling the effects of the contentions between political parties and their views on immigrant rights in America.

But political allegiances aside, the Social Security Administration wants to stress that many immigrants-including some non-citizens as well-have the right to apply for benefits in the event that they become disabled or can no longer work.

Like with a majority of SSA application processes, aliens applying for Supplemental Security Income must meet certain requirements before their application is considered for approval. First, an alien must fall into at least one of seven categories that include refugees, people seeking asylum, or anyone granted conditional entry under the Immigration and Nationality Act.

It’s important to point out that along with the qualifying category, an alien must also meet all of the other rules associated with SSI eligibility, which include limits on income and resources among many other things.

There are also specific categories of non-citizens that can also qualify for SSI benefits such as Iraqi and Afghani nationals who served as translators or interpreters for the U.S. Armed Forces in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s important to point out however, that all of these categories are subject to specific laws and agencies that dictate a person’s qualifications.

It’s because of these strict qualifications that some applications for benefits are denied. This can be both frustrating and confusing, which can lead many people to seek the help of a skilled attorney who can help them through the next step in the application process.

Source: Social Security Administration, “Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Spotlight On SSI Benefits for Aliens,” 2012

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