Undocumented Immigrants can obtain Social Security Benefits

Undocumented Immigrants under current law can obtain social security benefits 
This legal memorandum shows how it is done.

ME M O R A N D U M *
*TO:* Advocates, Attorneys, Benefit Providers, Justice System Personnel,
and other interested persons

***FROM: *Leslye Orloff and Edna Yang, Immigrant Women Program, NOW
Legal Defense and Education Fund

***DATE: *November 17, 2000

***RE*:* *Obtaining Non-Work Social Security Numbers

***Steps to Obtain a Social Security Number for an Undocumented
Immigrant and/or Child*

In order to better serve undocumented battered immigrant women and their
children who are applying for public benefits that they are entitled to
receive, advocates need to understand the process by which an
undocumented immigrant can obtain a non-work social security number
(“SSN”). Advocates are strongly encouraged to accompany their clients to
the Social Security Administration to ensure that their clients are not
denied non-work SSNs by caseworkers who do not fully understand the
process and eligibility requirements involved in issuing non-working SSNs.

A Social Security number may be assigned for a non-work purpose to an
immigrant who cannot provide evidence of immigrant status that allows
them to work under 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(e), if the evidence described in
that paragraph does not exist and if the immigrant resides either in or
outside the US, or a territory of the US/, and a social security number
is required by law as a condition of the alien’s receiving a federally
funded benefit to which the alien has established entitlement./^ (1)
*I. Who Is Eligible for A Non Work Social Security Number (SSN) *

_/*A Non-Work SSN Will Be Processed For Undocumented Immigrants Who Are
Entitled to the Following Public Benefits*/_^_/* */_(2)
:

Ø Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (“TANF”);

Ø Medicaid;

Ø Food Stamps;

Ø Title XVI (SSI) Payments;

Ø Disability insurance (SSDI) and old age survivors insurance (OASDI)
under Title II Benefits;

Ø Benefits for end stage renal disease patients under Title XVIII;

SSN Will /Not/ Be Processed For Undocumented Immigrants Who^ (3)
:

Ø Are ineligible for benefits/payments under Title II (SSDI and OASDI),
Title XVI (SSI), Title XVIII, TANF, Medicaid, and Food Stamps;

Ø Is an SSI ineligible spouse, parent, or child;

Ø Is appointed representative payee for SSDI, OASDI, or SSI beneficiary;

Ø Is eligible only for emergency services under Medicaid, since
emergency Medicaid is open to all immigrants and having a SSN is not a
condition of eligibility for emergency Medicaid;

Ø Alleges a need for a SSN for tax or similar purposes.

*II. Evidence Required for a Working and Non-Working Social Security Number*

Often times, clients feel overwhelmed and unable to gather the required
evidence to obtain their non-work SSN by themselves. It is essential for
advocates to stress to their clients the importance of the evidence as
well as to work with their clients in locating the necessary information
and evidence required to obtain a non-work SSN.

Working Social Security Number

In order to obtain a work authorized social security number, the
Applicant must be 1) A US citizen (US born or foreign-born), or 2) An
immigrant (either US born or foreign-born) authorized to work in the
United States. The applicant must also be able to prove the following:^
(4)

Ø Age, through documents including, but not limited to, a birth
certificate, a religious record showing age or date of birth, a hospital
records or birth, or a passport;^ (5)
Ø Identity, through documents including, but not limited to, driver’s
license, identity card, school record, medical record, marriage records,
passport, or Immigration and Naturalization Service document;^ (6)
Ø US Citizenship */or/*// Work Authorized Lawful Immigrant Status.^ (7)
In order to be authorized to work in the United States, an immigrant
must be one of the following classes of immigrants:^ (8)
Ø An immigrant who is a lawful permanent resident;^ (9)
Ø An immigrant admitted to the United States as a lawful temporary
resident;^ (10)

Ø An immigrant admitted to the United States as a refugee;^ (11)
Ø An immigrant paroled into the United States as a refugee for the
period of time in that status;^ (12)
Ø An immigrant granted asylum under section 208 of the Immigration and
Nationality Act (“the Act”);^ (13)
Ø An immigrant admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant fiancé or
fiancée, or an immigrant admitted as the child of such immigrant;^ (14)
Ø An immigrant admitted as a parent (N-8) or dependent child (N-9) of an
immigrant granted permanent residence under section 101(a)(27)(I) of the
Act;^ (15)

Ø An immigrant admitted to the United States as a citizen of the
Federated States of Micronesia (CFA/FSM) or of the Marshall Islands
(CFA/MIS);^ (16)

Ø An immigrant granted withholding of deportation;^ (17)
Ø An immigrant who has been granted extended voluntary departure by the
Attorney General as a member of a nationality group pursuant to a
request by the Secretary of State;^ (18)
Ø An immigrant granted Temporary Protected Status;^ (19)
Ø An immigrant granted voluntary departure by the Attorney General under
the Family Unity Program established by section 301 of the Immigration
Act of 1990;^ (20)

Ø Foreign government officials and their employees;^ (21)
Ø A non immigrant student seeking on campus employment, part time off
campus employment or curricular practical training;^ (22)
Ø A representative of an international organization and their personal
employees;^ (23)

Ø An international cultural exchange visitor or an immigrant having a
religions occupation;^ (24)

Ø NATO armed services officers and personnel and their attendants,
servants, and personal employees;^ (25)
It is important for advocates to determine whether their clients fit
into any of the above categories of work authorized immigrant status. If
the client does not fit one of these categories, then she may be
eligible to apply for a non-work SSN.

Non-Working Social Security Number^ (26)
In order to obtain a non-work social security number the applicant must
prove the following^ (27) :

Ø Age, through documents including, but not limited to, a birth
certificate, a religious record showing age or date of birth, a hospital
records or birth, or a passport;^ (28)
Ø Identity, through documents including, but not limited to, driver’s
license, identity card, school record, medical record, marriage records,
passport, or Immigration and Naturalization Service document;^ (29)
Ø A legal requirement for a social security number as a condition of the
applicant receiving a federally funded benefit or service or if the
state government requires a social security number to administer
statutes governing the issuing of driver’s licenses, the registration of
motor vehicles, and the issuance of divorce decrees, child support
orders, paternity actions.^ (30)

*III. Obtaining a SSN for a Child*

The Social Security Administration automatically assigns social security
numbers to children at birth under its Enumeration at Birth (EAB)
Project, /regardless/ of whether or not the parents have a valid social
security number.^ (31) Some
Social Security Administration Staff have been erroneously advising
parents who do not have social security numbers themselves that they
cannot apply for a social security number for their US citizen children.
If your immigrant client is going to have a child, they should be
informed that their child will be assigned a social security number
regardless of whether the your client has one.

The Social Security Administration has instructed its employees that an
identity document and a birth record /must/ be shown when an application
for a SSN is being filed for a child. A birth record alone is /not/
sufficient evidence to establish identity. However, where the applicant
is a child under 7 years of age applying for an original social security
number card and there is no documentary evidence of identity available,
the requirement for evidence of identity will be waived if there is no
reason to doubt the validity of the birth record, the social security
number application, and the existence of the individual. ^(32)
Acceptable identity documents
for children over seven years old are:^ (33)
Ø Driver’s license;

Ø Identity card;

Ø School record;

Ø Medical record;

Ø Marriage record;

Ø Passport;

Ø Immigration and Naturalization Service document, or;

Ø Other similar document serving to identify the individual. The
document should contain the applicant’s signature for comparison with
his or her signature on the application for a social security number.

***IV. Replacement Cards for Undocumented Immigrants*

**Once your client obtains a non-work SSN, you must, as an advocate,
stress that she should keep the card in a safe place and not lose it.
For battered immigrants, the original non-work SSN card must be kept at
the home of a trusted relative or friend or kept for her by her advocate
or attorney. This will ensure that the card will be in a place where the
abuser cannot take it away from her or destroy it. The Social Security
Administration will not issue replacement non-work social security cards
for undocumented immigrants. If your client’s non-work SSN number has
been lost, stolen, or destroyed and she needs evidence of her social
security number for an allowed purpose including payment of a federally
funded benefit, obtaining a driver’s license, or filing for divorce you
should contact the Social Security Administration and provide them with
the name and phone number of the benefits case worker, the court clerk,
or the third party agency who needs to know your client’s social
security number. The Social Security Administrations will then contact
the third party agency and notify them of your client’s social security
number.

^1 Non-work social security numbers are also issued to immigrants if the
state government requires a social security number to administer
statutes governing the issuing of a driver’s licenses and the
registering of motor vehicles. It can also be argued that in
jurisdictions where the courts ask for social security numbers of
parties applying for divorce, child support, paternity, and marriage
licenses non-work social security number should be issued. /See
Memorandum regarding §466(a)(13) of the Social Security Act/. /See also/
POMS RM 00203.510

^2 POMS RM 00203.560(A)(2)

^3 POMS RM 00203.560

^4 POMS RM 00203.001(C)(1), (D)(1), (D)(3)

^5 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(b)

^6 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(c)

^7 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(d)

^8 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12. This list also includes temporary workers or
trainees; information media representatives; exchange visitors;
intra-company transferees; persons having extraordinary ability in the
sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics; athletes, artists,
and entertainers; person engaged in business activities under North
Atlantic Free trade Agreement (“NAFTA”).

^9 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(1)

^10 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(2)

^11 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(3)

^12 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(4)

^13 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(5)

^14 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(6)

^15 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(7)

^16 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(8)

^17 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(10)

^18 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(11)

^19 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(12)

^20 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(a)(13)

^21 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(1)-(5)

^22 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(6)(i)-(iii)

^23 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(7)-(8)

^24 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(15)-(16)

^25 8 C.F.R. § 274a.12(b)(17)-(18)

^26 All non-work social security numbers state: “not authorized for work
purposes” in bold letters on the face of the card.

^27 POMS RM 00203.001(C)(2), D)(2), (D)(4)

^28 20 C.F.R. § 422.107 (b)

^29 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(c)

^30 20 C.F.R. § 422.107(e). The traditional legal requirements for
non-work SSNs have not included state statutes requiring social security
numbers for the issuance of divorce decrees, child support orders, and
paternity actions. These requirements, however, are a logical extension
of the use of non-work SSNs, because they are located in the same state
statutes, and fulfill the same purpose, as the legal requirement of a
SSN as a prerequisite for driver’s licenses and motor vehicle registration.

^31 EM-00058; POMS RM 00202.142

^32 20 C.F.R. § 422.107 (c)

^33 2
 

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