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Can you get Social Security benefits without being a US citizen?

Each month, the SSA sends Social Security benefits. Can immigrants receive them?

Cada mes, la SSA envía los beneficios del Seguro Social. ¿Se pueden recibir sin ser ciudadano de los Estados Unidos? Te explicamos.
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To cash Social Security checks for retirement, a person must have a Social Security number (SSN), which you are given to a US citizen and permanent resident, or can be obtained upon being issued a work permit. In addition, you must meet certain credit, earnings, and retirement age requirements.

Non-citizens of the United States can receive Social Security benefits as long as they are in the United States legally or if they live abroad and meet certain criteria.

Non-citizens living in the United States may be eligible for Social Security if:

  • They are legal permanent residents.
  • Have a visa that allows them to work in the United States.
  • Were allowed into the country under the Family Unity or Immediate Relative provisions of United States immigration law.

Non-citizens living abroad may also qualify for Social Security if they ever worked in the United States and earned enough Social Security credits.

Can immigrants receive Supplemental Security Income?

On the other hand, according to SSA, a non-citizen may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if they meet the requirements of the non-citizen laws. In general, as of August 22, 1996, most non-citizens must meet two requirements to be potentially eligible for SSI:

  • Be in a qualified alien category
  • Meet a condition that allows qualified aliens to get SSI

Social Security checks: how much money do you send?

Each year, SSA calculates the amounts you will send on an individual basis based on your “Primary Insurance Amount” (PIA). In addition, the benefit amount may be affected by the age of the beneficiaries, as well as the increase in the cost of living adjustment (COLA).

In 2023, thanks to the 8.7% increase in the COLA, average retiree payments increased to approximately $1,827, the SSA revealed in January. On the other hand, the maximum benefit for those who retire at age 62 is $2,572 per month, $3,627 per month for workers retiring at full retirement age (67), and $4,555 for those retiring at or after age 70.