A hot topic when it comes to Social Security benefits involves payments to illegal aliens. Many taxpayers are rightfully concerned that this agency would allow lawbreakers to profit from their action. The truth is that aliens are only allowed to receive benefits under limited circumstances, and having a lawful presence in the United States is usually a precursor for applying.
Before qualifying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), aliens must be in a qualified category and have a medical condition that would make them eligible for benefits. These individuals must also meet the same criteria for eligibility as other applicants, to include income and asset limitations.
Seven categories of qualified aliens exist. The most common one is lawfully admitted for permanent residence (LAPR), which means that individual plans to remain here indefinitely without becoming a citizen. Those who have been granted conditional entry, are paroled into the U.S., or have refugee or asylum status are also eligible. Other categories include “Cuban and Haitian entrants” and those who have had deportation withheld by the INS under certain conditions.
Those who are in a qualifying category will still need to meet any one of a number of other conditions. The Social Security Administration requires proof of immigration status, and those who have served in the military will need to show a DD214 stating that they have served honorably before an application for benefits will be considered.