Certain immigrants may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), even though they have not yet obtained citizenship or a green card (lawful permanent residence).
8 U.S.C. section 1612(a)(2) provides, among other things, that the following individuals are not precluded from receiving SSI by reason of their status:
-One whose deportation is withheld under section 243(h) of such Act [8 U.S.C. 1253] (as in effect immediately before the effective date of section 307 of division C of Public Law 104–208) or section 241(b)(3) of such Act [8 U.S.C. 1231(b)(3)] (as amended by section 305(a) of division C of Public Law 104–208);
-A Cuban and Haitian entrant (as defined in section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980);
-An Amerasian immigrant pursuant to section 584 of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1988 (as contained in section 101(e) of Public Law 100–202 and amended by the 9th proviso under migration and refugee assistance in title II of the Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 1989, Public Law 100–461, as amended).
However, eligibility under section 1612(a)(2) only applies for the first seven years after the above status becomes effective. Social Security must notify those receiving benefits of the date that his or her 7 year period ends, and the recipient may appeal the termination of benefits.
Eligibility for SSI involves several more medical and non-medical criteria, and any applicant should explore the opportunity to enlist the help of an experienced Social Security Disability attorney. For residency status issues, an immigration attorney should be consulted.