Personal Finance
Personal Finance

Social Security for Immigrants & Non US Citizens – Things to Know


Over the years, the social security tax that Americans pay to support their retiring and disabled colleagues has affected immigrant workers and non US citizens. This article will help explain how the system works and why US citizens might be asked to contribute to social security even if they do not live in the country.

How does social security work for immigrants

Social Security is a federal program that provides benefits to retirees, disabled individuals, and their dependents. It is funded by payroll taxes paid by employers and employees. Social Security benefits can be used to supplement retirement income, pay for medical expenses, and provide financial assistance in the event of disability or death.

Immigrants who work in the United States are eligible for Social Security benefits. To qualify, immigrants must have valid work authorization, such as an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) or Permanent Resident Card (green card).

They must also have paid into the system, typically through payroll taxes deducted from their paycheck. Immigrants who have not worked in the U.S. long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits may still be eligible for certain programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS).

In order to receive Social Security benefits, immigrants must apply with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA will review the application and determine whether the immigrant is eligible for benefits. If approved, the immigrant will receive a Social Security number and be able to start receiving benefits.

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Immigrants who have worked in the U.S. for at least 10 years and have earned at least 40 credits (the equivalent of 10 years of work) are eligible for full Social Security benefits. Immigrants who have worked less than 10 years may still be eligible for partial benefits based on their earnings.

The amount of benefits an immigrant receives depends on their age and the amount of money they have contributed to the Social Security system. In general, younger immigrants receive lower monthly benefits than older immigrants. Benefits increase with age and additional contributions to the system.

Social Security benefits are subject to taxation, just like wages and other types of income. Immigrants should consult a tax professional to determine how much of their benefits are taxable and how to file their taxes accurately.

In addition to retirement benefits, Social Security also provides survivors’ benefits to the spouses and children of deceased workers.

To be eligible, the deceased worker must have worked long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits and the spouse or child must meet certain requirements. Immigrants may be eligible for these benefits even if the deceased worker was not a U.S. citizen.

Can a non-US citizen get Social Security benefits?

Yes, non-U.S. citizens can get Social Security benefits under certain circumstances.

Generally, to be eligible for Social Security benefits, an individual must have worked and paid taxes into the Social Security system for at least 10 years. Non-U.S. citizens who have worked in the United States legally and paid taxes are usually eligible for Social Security benefits if they meet the other requirements.

In addition, certain categories of non-U.S. citizens may qualify for Social Security benefits even if they haven’t paid taxes into the system. These categories include people who are permanent residents, refugees, and people granted asylum.

Non-U.S. citizens who are spouses or children of U.S. citizens or permanent residents may also be eligible for Social Security benefits.

Non-U.S. citizens who are eligible for Social Security benefits may also be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a program that provides cash assistance to low-income individuals.

To be eligible for SSI, individuals must have limited income and resources, and be either a U.S. citizen or a “qualified alien.” Qualified aliens are immigrants who are lawfully present in the U.S., including permanent residents, refugees, and those granted asylum.

In order to receive Social Security benefits, non-U.S. citizens must generally provide proof of their immigration status, such as a green card or work permit.

They will also need to provide information about their work history, such as pay stubs, W-2 forms, or other documents. It is important to note that non-U.S. citizens may be subject to federal and state taxes on their Social Security benefits.

Finally, it is important to remember that non-U.S. citizens may be ineligible for Social Security benefits if they leave the U.S. for an extended period of time.

Those who plan to travel outside the U.S. for more than six months should contact the Social Security Administration for information about how their benefits may be affected.

How much money do new immigrants get?

New immigrants to the United States may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits depending on their situation. Generally speaking, non-citizens who are lawfully admitted to the United States and have earned enough work credits may qualify for Social Security benefits.

In order to be eligible for Social Security benefits, immigrants must have worked at least 10 years in the United States, whether or not they had legal status. Immigrants must also have a valid Social Security number, and they must be at least 62 years of age or disabled.

The amount of money an immigrant will receive from Social Security depends on the individual’s work history and earnings. Generally speaking, the more years of work and higher the earnings, the higher the benefit payments. The average Social Security benefit for retired workers is around $1,400 per month in 2021.

It is important to note that some immigrants may not be eligible for Social Security benefits even if they have met the criteria listed above.

For example, immigrants who are in the country on certain types of visas, such as student visas, are not eligible for Social Security benefits. Also, immigrants who are in the United States illegally are not eligible for Social Security benefits.

In conclusion, new immigrants to the United States may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits depending on their situation.

The amount of money an immigrant will receive from Social Security depends on the individual’s work history and earnings. However, some immigrants may not be eligible for Social Security benefits even if they have met the criteria listed above.

How can I get a Social Security card as an immigrant in America?

If you are an immigrant to the United States, you may be eligible for a Social Security card. To obtain a Social Security card, you must first meet certain requirements.

In order to get a Social Security card as an immigrant, you must have the following:

1. A valid immigration status in the U.S.

2. An unrestricted Social Security number (SSN).

3. Documentation to prove your identity, such as a passport or driver’s license.

4. Proof of work authorization, if applicable.

Once you have all the necessary documents, you can apply for a Social Security card at your local Social Security office or online through the Social Security Administration website.

When applying, you will need to provide your name, date of birth, place of birth, current address, and other identifying information. You will also need to provide your immigration documents.

The Social Security Administration will review your application and, if approved, will issue you a Social Security card. It is important to note that the card does not give you permission to work in the U.S., but it is required to apply for a job.

It is important to keep your Social Security card safe and secure.

Do not carry it with you or share it with anyone. If your card is lost or stolen, you should contact the Social Security Administration immediately to report the theft and request a new card.


I'm an Entrepreneur, Blogger & Mentor. Having lived in the USA for almost 7 years, I got bored and returned back to India. While doing so, created this website as a way to curate and journal my experiences. Today, it's a movement with a large community behind it. I hope this website helps NRIs planning to move back to India, make their transition smooth and easy. Feel free to ask any questions you may have. Happy to help!

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