Disabled Immigrants: You May Qualify for Disability Benefits

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Disabled immigrants who permanently reside in the U.S. and pay taxes into the Social Security system may qualify for disability benefits. Before applying for these benefits, they must understand aspects like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits programs as well as eligibility criteria for disabled immigrants. They must also familiarize themselves with disability benefits and the importance of seeking legal support when lodging a disability claim.

SSDI and SSI Benefits Programs

SSDI and SSI disability programs provide financial aid to disabled immigrants. The two programs, however, have different eligibility criteria. A disabled immigrant can apply for financial benefits from both programs, but he or she must understand the eligibility criteria for the two. Both programs are under Social Security Administration (SSA). The major difference between the two benefit programs is that SSI is funded by general fund taxes while SSDI is funded through payroll taxes in the form of the Federal Insurance Contribution Act.

SSDI Requirements for Disabled Immigrants

Disabled aliens who are legally in the U.S. must satisfy several conditions before they qualify for SSDI benefits. They must possess a Social Security number that allows them to legally work in the U.S. along with requisite VISA: D-1, D-2, or B-1. They must also have paid Social Security taxes on their incomes and accumulated enough work credits.

SSI Requirements for Disabled Immigrants

The SSI program is strictly based on the financial status of the applicant– the disabled immigrant must be a low-income earner. Unlike SSDI, the immigrant isn’t strictly required to have worked or amassed a fixed number of work credits. SSI program only assists specific groups of disabled immigrants, including:

  • Human Trafficking survivors
  • Accepted asylum seekers
  • Disabled immigrants granted conditional U.S. citizenship before April 1, 1980
  • Disabled immigrants who are lawfully admitted as permanent residents in the U.S.

Disability benefits

A healthy immigrant might get disabled through a debilitating illness or getting hurt in a crash. Benefits advanced by the disability programs include financial assistance and healthcare aid. These benefits help disabled immigrants address basic needs, as their disabling conditions prevent them from working for 12 consecutive months or more.

Disabled immigrants who are eligible for SSDI can still get financial assistance while they reside abroad. This, however, depends on the immigration status of the disabled immigrant and his or her home country. The disabled immigrant must adhere to a set condition for him or her to continue drawing the benefits. The condition is that the disabled immigrant must not be outside the U.S. for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days every six months.

Need for Assistance in Filing a Disability Claim

A disabled immigrant must understand the medical and non-medical conditions he or she must meet to increase the odds of his or her disability claim getting approved. An immigration attorney can evaluate the disabled immigrant’s situation to determine whether he or she meets the required conditions for disability benefits approval.

The attorney can guide the disabled immigrant through the application process and its review, helping him or her build a stronger claim for disability benefits. SSA also has representatives who can guide a disabled immigrant through the entire application process.