Frequently Asked Questions: Benefits & Qualifying
Do I Need to Be A U.S. Citizen / Taxpayer to Be Eligible for SSDI?
You do not need to be a United States Citizen, but you do need to be in the country lawfully, in order to be eligible for benefits from the Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs. The rules and eligibility requirements differ, however, for citizens and non-citizens, and certain benefits are not available outside of the fifty states. Speaking with a disability advocate about your situation, or asking the Social Security Administration, is the best way to understand the particulars.
To qualify for SSDI, you must also have accumulated an appropriate amount of work credits. Most Americans earn work credits when they pay into Social Security through a small amount of money deducted automatically from their paychecks. In short, if you have worked for five years (total, and not necessarily consecutively) in the last ten years, you should have enough work credits to qualify.
Note that not all Americans have jobs that will automatically take a Social Security deduction; if you are unsure if you have work credits, you can check by following these instructions.