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Immigration and Social Security

The Social Security Administration has different rules for getting Social Security benefits depending on what benefit you have applied for and what kind of immigration status you have. There are two main programs people usually apply for: Disability Insured Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. If you are a legal permanent resident (also known as a green card holder or noncitizen) and apply for Disability Insured Benefits (Title 2 or DIB) because you have paid FICA taxes, as long as Social Security finds you disabled there is no problem. However, if you are a legal permanent resident and you file for Supplemental Security Income (Title 16 or SSI) the rules get trickier. If you were lawfully residing in the United States before August 22, 1996 or you were on SSI and lawfully residing in the United States before that date you can receive SSI.

If you arrive to the United States as a refugee, you can receive SSI for the first 7 years you are in the country. After the 7 years is over, it is expected that you naturalize in order to maintain your SSI eligibility. The only other way to receive SSI benefits as a legal permanent resident is to have accrued at least 40 work credits. If you yourself do not have 40 work credits, you can use work credits your spouse earned or your parents earned. For the work credit to be valid the person earning it cannot have been on any kind of federal public assistance at the time, such as food stamps. Additionally, while those credits can be used to obtain eligibility, the will not increase your monthly amount. If you naturalize and become a citizen, you will be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. This is a complicated area of law and it is best to talk to an attorney about your particular situation. 

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Contact us online or call our offices directly at 888-351-0427 for a free case evaluation. All cases are taken on contingency, meaning there are no fees until we recover benefits for you.

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In Minnesota, we handle Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) claims. Throughout the nation, we handle SSDI applications and appeals for people from Ohio to Kansas, North Dakota to Texas and everywhere in between.


Midwest Disability, P.A.
408 Northdale Boulevard Northwest
Coon Rapids, MN 55448

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