If you have an injury that prevents you from working, it can be very stressful situation. Not knowing where your next paycheck to support yourself and your family is coming from is upsetting. American citizens always have the option of applying for Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits. Do non-citizens have the same opportunity? Find out here, but for further questions, check with The Law Offices of Dr. Bill LaTour.
Benefits Depend On Your Status In The United States
It turns out that you don’t necessarily have to be a citizen to qualify for SSDI benefits. There are many instances where a non-citizen can also apply and receive SSDI benefits.
Anyone who is a permanent resident, or even a lawfully present foreign worker, should pay into the Social Security tax pool. Just like any other worker who pays into this fund, non-citizens who pay into the fund for the required number of years are also able to collect benefits. Even if they are nonresident aliens, or if they are employees who have only spent a very short time working in the US.
Even if you are not a permanent resident, as long as you can prove that you are lawfully in the United States, and that you have paid into the SSDI fund, you may be able to qualify for benefits. A social security disability lawyer can help you out if you are unsure of the laws which might apply to your specific situation.
Exceptions To The Rule
There are a few countries whose residents do not qualify for benefits regardless of their status in America. Residents of Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea cannot qualify for SSDI benefits.
There are also some exceptions for students who are living in the US, as well as temporary workers who do not have to pay into the Social Security Fund.
Proving That You Are Lawfully In The US
So what methods can you use to prove that you are a lawful worker in the United States? There are several conditions that can be used to prove lawful status:
- Parole status
- Permission to remain in the United States due to humanitarian or other public policy reasons
- Abuse or cruelty by a family member while in the United States
- Deportation has been withheld or there is a pending application that will withhold deportation
- Visiting on a non-immigrant visa
- Refugee or conditional refugee status
- Political asylum or pending political asylum status
Do You Need To Remain In The United States To Collect Benefits?
If you are an alien, then you typically must return to the US every 30 days or spend at least 30 continual days in the US in a six-month period to collect benefits. If you fail to do this then you will lose any SSDI benefits that you might have access to.
There is an exception for active military for the United States or if you are a citizen of Germany, Japan, Israel, Italy, Ireland or Greece.