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Non-citizens can get disability benefits under some conditions


Contrary to some rumors, it is not true that undocumented immigrants can get Social Security disability benefits the same way that an American citizen who lives in Central Florida can. In fact, someone who is not in this country legally is not eligible for Social Security.

However, under certain conditions, a non-citizen who is legally in this country can qualify for disability. Of course, just like everyone else, the non-citizen will have to prove he or she is disabled and otherwise meets all the requirements to receive benefits. They get no special favors simply by not being citizens of the United States.

It is slightly easier for an immigrant to get benefits through the SSDI program, which is for people who at one point put money in to the system through his or her employment but is now disabled and in need of that money that was set aside.

Basically, if the immigrant is legally in the country and either has a Social Security card or a particular type of visa, then he or she is eligible for SSDI provided he or she otherwise qualifies.

Qualifying for need-based benefits, which are referred to as supplemental security income or SSI, is a little bit trickier when one is a non-citizen, as her or she must fall in to one of several specified categories. If the immigrant does meet one of these prerequisites, then he or she may be able to get SSI benefits; however, this can be a complicated process which may require the help of a qualified Social Security attorney to straighten out.

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