You do not have to be a U.S. citizen in order to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Foreign-born workers who are lawfully present in the United States and who have paid the required amount into the Social Security system may also be eligible for Social Security disability if they have a medical condition that prevents them from working and that qualifies them for benefits.
Yet, a recent study published in the December 2017 issue of Demography found that foreign-born workers are less likely to apply for Social Security disability benefits than U.S.-born workers.
How Big Is the Difference?
Researchers studied Social Security disability records and data from the American Community Survey (ACS) from 2001 -2010. According to their findings, about 6.56 people per thousand people born in the United States received Social Security disability benefits while only about 4.16 per thousand foreign-born men and 4.36 per thousand foreign-born women received Social Security disability benefits.
The rate of Social Security disability recipients was lower among all foreign-born workers when compared to U.S born workers. However, foreign-born workers from some regions had higher rates of Social Security disability eligibility than other workers. For example, the highest rate of Social Security disability for foreign-born workers was 5.66 per thousand workers. This rate applied to workers born in the Caribbean. Workers from East Asia, however, had the lowest rate of workers receiving Social Security disability benefits at a rate of 2.28 per thousand workers.
How to Protect Your Right to Disability Benefits If You Are a Foreign-Born Worker in the United States
If you a foreign-born worker in the United States, it is important to know your rights and to protect the benefits you’ve earned by paying in to the Social Security system. If you are hurt or sick and you cannot work, you have the right to consult with a board-certified Social Security disability lawyer to make sure that your right to benefits is protected. Our law firm can provide you with the information you need in English or Spanish. Regardless of the language you speak, we will make sure that it is not a barrier to your recovery of benefits. For more information, please start a live chat with us now.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.