Are Green Card Holders Eligible for Social Security Benefits?

Last year, one of my friends immigrated to USA. During his stay, he came across the provision of Social Security Benefits for the country’s residents. Based on his experiences, I have created a quick guide that will help you know how a green card holder becomes eligible for social security benefits.

Let me start with a quick fact: 60,907,307 beneficiaries received social security benefits on December 31, 2016, according to government reports.

What are Social Security Benefits?

Social security benefits are the payments made to retired workers and their spouses on a monthly basis. Those who have paid into the Social Security system during their working years are eligible.

Social Security Benefits include:

  • Retirement Benefits to individuals who have retired
  • Disability Benefits to people with disability
  • Survivors Benefits to the survivors of workers who have died
  • Benefits for dependants, including spouse and children under the age of 18 years.

How to Earn Social Security Benefits?

You can earn social security benefits based on a simple underlying criterion. During your working days, you need to pay Social Security taxes in the US for a minimum number of years to receive social security benefits after retirement. The taxes you pay in the country, in turn, earn you social security credits.

Also read: Best Health Insurance for Green Card Holders

How Many Credits are Required for Green Card Holders

To get 1 credit, permanent residents or green card holders need $1,160 of earnings (as of 2013). You should know that you can earn only 4 credits in a year. Green card holders are required to earn need 40 credits, for which they have to work and pay taxes for a minimum of 10 years, to be eligible for social security benefits. However, to save yourself from adversities, it is always advisable to invest in a medical insurance plan for GC holders, to stay protected for medical emergencies post retirement.

Click on here to find out more about the best health insurance plans for GC holders.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Do green card holders qualify for unemployment benefits?

An unemployed person in the US is eligible for unemployment benefits, if s/he is able to meet the state requirements for wages earned or time worked during an established period of time. These factors determine the value and length of the unemployment benefits. As a green card holder, allowed to work in the US, you have almost all the rights and responsibilities of a US citizen, and are eligible for unemployment benefits as well. However, there are exceptions.

  • Do green card holders get a social security number?

Every permanent resident of the US needs a Social Security Number (SSN) to be able to work in the country, pay taxes, and conduct business with a bank or financial institution. A Social Security Card is usually only issued to green card holders who have come to the US on an employment-based, non-immigration visa.

  • Can a non-citizen spouse collect social security?

If you have lived with your non-citizen spouse (who is neither a citizen nor resident of certain countries) in the US for at least five years while married, your spouse is eligible to collect ongoing spousal social security benefits, even if your marriage has not continued.

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment.

About the author

Mani Karthik

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC's to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I've learned in life. This blog is read today, by more than 200K people world over! I'm basically from Kochi, Kerala and spend my time between Los Angeles and India. Here's my full story. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). :)

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