From SSS office
To qualify for benefits, noncitizens first must be lawfully present in this country and must meet the same eligibility requirements as U.S. citizens. The law requires that anyone living in the United States who applies for Social Security benefits on or after December 1, 1996 must provide evidence that he or she is a U.S. citizen or U.S. national, or an alien lawfully present in the United States as determined by the Attorney General. This law does not affect the following:
-- Social Security benefits for people residing outside the United States ;
-- Social Security benefits for people who applied before December 1, 1996; or
-- Entitlement to the lump sum death payment
A noncitizen worker assigned a Social Security number (SSN) on or after January 1, 2004, must meet another eligibility requirement. If you are subject to this provision, neither you nor your dependents can qualify for benefits based on your earnings unless:
-- At some point, you were assigned an SSN based on your authorization to work in the United States at any time on or after January 1, 2004 or
-- At some point, you were admitted to this country as a nonimmigrant visitor for business (B-1) or as an alien crewman (D-1 or D-2).
Once a noncitizen worker has met eligibility criteria, we must have evidence of the “lawful presence” of the beneficiary. That means that before we can pay out benefits for any given month, Social Security must have evidence that during that month the beneficiary was either:
A U.S. citizen;
A U.S. national; or
Lawfully present in the United States .
For more information, you may call our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. Our representatives there will be glad to help you.
If you live outside the United States , see
for information on services in other countries.
If you reside in the United States , you can apply for benefits online at the following Internet address:
You can find more information about whether you can receive benefits abroad as a non-U.S. citizen in the booklet, “Your Payments While You Are outside the United States,” publication number 05-10137, at the Internet address below: