Depending on where you’re from, our government has a reciprocity agreement with other countries where your earnings here count towards their Social Security programs and vice versa. You can find the list of countries here. You can also cure your green card deficiency and then you’re fine. Contact an immigration attorney if this is the case.
If you are in the country as a refugee, you might be able to apply for SSI. SSI benefits are specifically for people who have not worked enough for SSDI benefits and meet need-based requirements. Certain classes of refugee or victims of human trafficking are allowed to apply. This gets really complicated and a bit beyond what I want to handle here. If you think this may apply to you, go ahead and call your local office. If you are here under a refugee status, you will know. Refugees can get SSI for seven years only.
Fun Fact - if you are an immigrant and want your family to qualify for benefits quickly, you can join the United States Armed Forces. Your immediate family may then qualify for SSI benefits without having to work the five years required for SSDI benefits.
This blog is an excerpt from Social Security Disability Benefits for Beginners, now available at Amazon.com. If you have any further questions, please contact The Foster Law Firm at (480)621-7231 or at www.fosterlawaz.com.