Best Way to Advise Non-US Citizens on Their Social Security Benefits


As a financial advisor it is complicated sometimes when you advise someone on social security. However, advising a non-U.S. citizen client is more complicated because it requires more specific information about social security. Since you are providing advice and growing the number of non-citizen clients, you must need enough skill and knowledge to do the job perfectly. You may say people who have social security cards to keep it safe for its essentiality. So, it would be best if those who are worried about their SSN card safety, make a digital copy of it for fair use and contact alldocuments to get the copy.

Understanding Immigration Status

Non-U.S. citizens must be eligible for Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) identifies first him or her with the criteria they have outlined to receive benefits. Foreign workers who are willing to work in the United States need to get valid authorization of residency and obtain a Social Security number.

Non-Citizens Living in the United States

Non-U.S citizens those who are working and earn profits legally and have a lawful residency in the United States can receive Social Security. There can be compromise if someone’s eligibility works can not reach with the supplemental security income (SSI) benefits, some of the forty quarters of the work done by a spouse or parent that some provisions are allowed. Your non-citizen clients can be qualified for Social Security benefits under several conditions.

They include the following:

  • If they are legally living in the US as of August 22, 1996, and receiving Social Security.
  • If your client becomes a permanent resident lawfully in the US and completes 40 quarters of qualifying work. Though in some cases may be considered some works from the spouse or parents towards the 40 quarters.
  • If your client is performing a military service or the client has been honorably discharged, and the discharging was not for their alien status. This position also applies to spouses or dependents of U.S. military personnel.

Besides, other provisions may be applied, so your client should examine their position and determine their eligibility.

Non-Citizens Who Leave the United States

Non-citizens who have already left the US and residing outside of the country for at least six months, their social security benefits must be paused. If they want to resume the benefit payments again, they have to get back to the US and live at least 30 days. However, there may be applied some other additional rules about those gaining social security benefits as a surviving spouse or a dependent. Non-citizens eligible workers who are citizens of most European countries, Canada, Japan, Israel, and South Korea can get a preference to receive benefits. Some countries are prohibited to receive benefit payments by the US Treasury rules. Among them currently are Cuba and North Korea.

Non-Citizen Spouses of U.S. Emigrants

If your non-citizen client has married outside the United States and wants to receive payments on behalf of the spouse, the spouse must be eligible by the provisions. But, the rules can be complicated for receiving benefits to a non-citizen spouse. If there is an international agreement with the country of non-citizen residency or the state of citizenship, then the spouse can be considered for the benefit payments.

There may be a compromise if the non-citizen is a legal U.S. resident for at least five years at the time of marriage. In this case, the couple may be eligible for Social Security benefits and have no difficulty with where they are residing and where they will live in the future.

Special Considerations to Foreign Benefits

Non-citizens who are receiving retirement benefits from their home countries, these may reduce Social Security benefits of the US. However, in some cases, rules of the Government Pension Offset provision does not decrease benefits payments for non-citizen spouses or dependents.