Disabled immigrants who meet all the requirements are entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance(SSDI). This program provides people with a monthly income that enables them to satisfy their financial needs.

SSDI Qualification for Immigrants

Immigrants who are lawfully in the U.S. qualify for SSDI benefits under specific circumstances. Besides meeting the basic and technical qualification requirements, they must also meet guidelines that revolve around a non-citizen status, which include: 

  • Holding a Social Security Number (SSN), issued after 2004, that permits them to lawfully work in the U.S.


  • Having the right Visa: B-1, D-1, or D-2


  • The ability to verify that they are legally in the U.S. in any specific month they will receive benefits from SSDI.

Basic Qualification for Benefits

Before receiving benefits, immigrants must satisfy certain basic eligibility rules. For instance, they must have worked for several years, paid Social Security taxes on their earnings, and amassed 20 to 40 work credits. The age of the immigrant at the time he or she becomes disabled determines the number of credits required. These credits accrue at a rate of roughly four every year.

Immigrants who haven’t accumulated sufficient credits in the United States might still be eligible for disability benefits if they have acquired adequate work credits from one of the over 25 countries that have entered a totalization agreement with the U.S. Several immigrants, however, don’t contribute to the SSDI fund. This automatically disqualifies them from getting disability benefits because they don’t satisfy the basic requirements.

Medical Eligibility for SSDI

All SSDI beneficiaries must have an eligible medical condition. They either undergo a residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment to confirm the disability or have an impairment listed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. In both cases, they have a life-threatening illness or a serious medical condition, which has kept or will keep them from performing work-related obligations for at least a year.

Applying for Disability Benefits    

An immigrant who intends to apply for SSDI should work closely with a doctor to gain a clear idea of the medical eligibility criteria. A social security disability attorney can also help the immigrant familiarize with the technical and immigrant-specific qualification rules.  The attorney will guide the immigrant throughout the entire application and review procedures, ensuring proper communication of the immigrant’s disability and building of an evidence-backed claim for benefits.