Are Immigrants Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

Passports and an ID

Under certain conditions, immigrants who are not U.S. citizens may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. An attorney Social Security disability can explain eligibility requirements for Illinois immigrants who do not have U.S. citizenship status.

Social Security Eligibility for Immigrants

People who immigrate to the United States from other countries may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, even without citizenship status.
Permanent residents, as well as foreigners working inside the U.S. who have paid taxes into the Social Security system for the minimum number of years required may be eligible for disability benefits. Non-citizens who have served as active members of the U.S. military, or are veterans, may also be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Foreign students who are enrolled in a university or exchange program in the United States may not be eligible for disability benefits because these individuals are exempted from paying taxes into the Social Security system.

Immigrants who are not U.S. citizens and want to apply for Social Security disability benefits must prove immigration status. Those individuals must have a Social Security number that permits work inside the U.S., or be in the U.S. on B-1, D-1, or D-2 non-immigrant visas. An attorney Social Security disability can make sure that applicants show required proof of immigration status and permits to work in the country.

  • B-1 Visas – Non-immigrant visas that are issued for business travel to the United States. Typically, these visas are issued for short time periods for business related reasons that do involve any work that requires payment from a U.S. source. Business visas can be used for a variety of business related activities such as conferences and studies, but not for conducting business.
  • D-1 Visas – Non-immigrant visas that are issued to crewmen aboard aircraft or vessels that enter or land in the United States. D-1 visas are good for a maximum stay of 29 days.
  • D-2 Visas – Non-immigrant visas that are issued to crewmen of fishing vessels with a home port or base of operations in the United States. D-2 visas are good for a maximum stay of six months.

There are strict requirements to quality for Social Security disability. An applicant’s medical condition must be on the official list of disabling conditions stated by the Social Security Administration. If the condition is not on the list, an attorney Social Security disability can provide additional information to prove that the applicant’s condition impairs his/her work.