- Be in a qualified alien category; AND
- Meet a condition that allows qualified Aliens to get SSI.
- A non-citizen must also meet all of the other rules for SSI eligibility, including the limits on income and resources, etc.
Who is a Qualified Alien?
There are seven categories of qualified aliens. You are a qualified alien if the Department of Homeland Security says you are in one of these categories:
- Lawfully Admitted for Permanent Residence in the U.S., which includes “Amerasian immigrant” as defined in P.L. 100-202, with a class of admission AM-1 through AM-8;
- Granted conditional entry under Section 203(a)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) as in effect before April 1, 1980;
- Paroled into the U.S. under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least one year;
- Refugee admitted to the U.S. under Section 207 of the INA;
- Granted asylum under Section 208 of the INA;
- Deportation is being withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA, as in effect before April 1, 1997; or removal is being withheld under Section 241(b)(3) of the INA;
- A “Cuban and Haitian entrant” as defined in Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 or in a status that is to be treated as a “Cuban/Haitian entrant” for SSI purposes.
In addition, you can be a “deemed qualified alien” if, under certain circumstances, you, your child or parent were subjected to battery or extreme cruelty by a family member while in the United States.
Under What Conditions May a “Qualified Alien” Be Eligible for SSI Benefits?
If you are in one of the seven “qualified alien” categories listed above, you may be eligible for SSI if you also meet on of the following conditions:
- You were receiving SSI and lawfully residing in the U.S. on August 22, 1996.
- You are LAPR with 40 qualifying quarters of work.
- You are currently on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or you are an honorably discharged veteran and your discharge is not because you are an alien. This condition may also apply if you are the spouse, widow(er), or dependent child of certain military personnel.
- You were lawfully residing in the U.S. on August 22, 1996 and you are blind or disabled.
- You may receive SSI for a maximum of seven years from the date DHS granted you immigration status in one of the following categories, and the status was granted within seven years of filing for SSI:
- Refugee under Section 207 of the INA;
- Asylee under Section 208 of the INA;
- Alien whose deportation was withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA or whose removal is withheld under Section 241(b)(3) of the INA;
- “Cuban or Haitian entrant” under Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980 or in a status that is to be treated as a “Cuban/Haitian entrant” for SSI purposes; or
- “Amerasian immigrant” pursuant to P.L. 100-202, with a class of admission of AM-1 through AM-8.
For purposes of SSI eligibility, individuals are not considered qualified Aliens if they were admitted to the U.S. under the provisions of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000. Their eligibility is subject to the proper certification in such status by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and possession of a valid “T” non-immigrant visa. Once the alien obtains proper certification and is in possession of a T non-immigrant visa, he or she becomes potentially eligible for SSI.