Can non-citizens receive SSDI?

Contrary to what most people think, non-citizens can receive SSDI benefits if they are a permanent resident and have paid into social security for the required amount of time. Veterans or active duty military personnel who are non-citizens might also be eligible for SSDI.

Generally speaking, all employees are required to pay into the Social Security system, which make them eligible to apply for SSDI benefits regardless of citizenship. However, there are exceptions to this rule.


If you are originally from Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam America’s foreign policy agreements will prevent you from claiming SSDI benefits. The US has what is known as a totalization agreement with several other countries as well. This type of agreement is intended to accomplish two points. First, it prevents dual citizens from paying Social Security taxes on the same salary in both countries. Second, if a person has split their career between two countries it will help fill gaps of benefit protection.

The United States has totalization agreements with Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

Lawful proof

There are several ways to prove you are lawfully allowed to be in the country. The following options can serve as acceptable proof of being lawfully allowed to live in the US.

Admission as a refugee or conditional entrance as a refugee
Asylum status or pending application for political asylum
Temporarily visiting on a nonimmigrant visa
Parole status
Deportation withheld or pending application for withholding of deportation
Member of a class of aliens permitted to remain in the United States for humanitarian or other public policy reasons, or
You have been battered or subjected to cruelty by a family member while in the United States
If you have questions about your eligibility for SSDI benefits call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law. You have paid tax money to Social Security and if you are in need that money is rightfully yours. Jan and her team will give you a free consultation, on the phone or in person, to help determine if you are eligible for benefits.

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Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law

Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law