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Are Non-US Citizens Eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits?

You don’t have to be a US citizen to be eligible for and receive Social Security disability benefits. Even non-US citizens may qualify for benefits.

If you are a permanent resident, but a non-citizen, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, because you have paid taxes into the Social Security system for the minimum number of years required to be eligible for benefits. Furthermore, if you are a non-citizen, but have served as an active member of the US military or are a veteran, you may also qualify for benefits.

Even if you are not a permanent resident, you may still continue to be eligible for benefits. Foreigners who are working inside the United States may qualify as long as they pay Social Security taxes. If you are a foreign student studying in the United States, however, you may not be eligible for benefits. Additionally, if you are in the United States on an exchange program, you may not be eligible for benefits because you are exempted from paying taxes into the Social Security system.

If you are a non-resident applying for Social Security disability benefits, you must be ready to prove your immigration status. You must also have a Social Security Number that permits you to work inside the United States, or must be in the United States on a B-1, D-1, or D-2 non-immigrant visa.

Determining whether you are eligible for Social Security disability benefits when you are a resident alien can be complicated. Many resident aliens in the country fail to qualify, mainly because of their failure to pay taxes into the system. To understand whether you, as a resident alien, qualify for Social Security disability benefits, talk to disability benefits attorney.