Can You Apply for Social Security Benefits If You Are Not a U.S. Citizen?

Also, we have many people ask if you have to be a U.S. citizen or can you be a resident alien and apply for benefits.

A Resident Alien, His or Her Spouse or Parents Must have Paid into Social Security for 10 Years in Order to Apply for Disability Benefits

Jeanne: As a U.S. citizen you can always apply, but as a resident alien, you have to have worked and paid into the social security for 10 years to be able to apply.  It has to be you, your spouse or your parents that have paid into the social security system for 10 years to be able to put an application in.

Resident Aliens Since 1996 Are Grandfathered in to the SCSI Program

However, if you were a resident alien from 1996, you’re grandfathered in.  You don’t have to have worked, and that is to apply for that program based on need, that SSI.

When You Begin the Application Process, It Is Advisable to Remember That You Are Dealing with the Federal Government

I think I should remind people to realize that whenever you’re doing something with the government, things move at different pace. There are many steps involved in the process and there is a great deal of work involved.

Attorney Morales’ Stresses That It Is Better to Seek Help with the Process, Rather than Being Denied Benefits You Are Entitled to because of a Clerical Error

I would feel bad for someone to attempt this endeavor on their own, and get a letter that says they denied, and think that they don’t have benefits available to them.  They could’ve been denied because they didn’t fill it out right or approach it right or present it right.

You know, they might go two or three years going, “Well, I’m not eligible for the benefits that I paid into the system for.”

Attorney Morales’ Firm Charges a Percentage of the Lump Sum Retroactive Payment as a Fee; as a Client, You Pay Nothing up Front

We don’t charge an upfront fee.  When social security goes to the back pay, so it’s been a year or more and you receive all those back pay months, we charge a percentage of the back pay as our fee.

Some people are worried that we’re going to steal all the benefits.  No.  We’re doing a lot of this work upfront.  We are incurring the cost all the way up to the approval point, so we’re suffering with them through the four to six months and then a denial and then another four to six months when we re-apply.

If You Apply without Representation, You May Waste Valuable Time Re-Applying or become Too Discouraged with the Process

Our services are well worth it because you are initially rejected after applying on your own and then you don’t try again or you don’t appeal or you don’t go to a hearing, which is what we do for you, you wasting all those years when you had eligibility for benefits but you just didn’t go get it.

Attorney Morales’ Staff Is with Clients Every Step of the Process

Elvira: For example, this morning, we have a claimant that called said, “Well, why do I need an attorney?”  He said, “I already applied and I was denied” and I said, “When were you denied?”  He replied, “About a year ago.”  I asked, “Well, did you appeal?”  “Well, no.”

I said, “See, they give you 60 days to appeal, and that’s what we’re here for.  Hopefully you don’t get denied, but if you do, that you continue to appeal until you have to go in front of a judge, and if that happens, then we’ll represent you there.”  “Oh, I see.  I see.”

Interviewer: He finally understood the process?

Elvira: Yes, after he was made aware of the process and the fact that we are with our clients until there is a resolution.