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SSI Recipients are Ineligble to Sponsor Fiance or Spouse Visas

Recipients of Social Security Disability (SSD, or SSDI) are financially eligible to sponsor immigration while recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

While both are administered by the Social Security Administration, the difference between Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income is the fact that SSD is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven't earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD.

Supplemental Security Income, then is a form of federal welfare, and as such makes the recipient ineligible to sponsor a foreign fiance or spouse, and promise to keep them off of welfare, while the sponsor is already recieving those same benefits.

What Is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is a program that is strictly need-based, according to income and assets, and is funded by general fund taxes. SSI is called a "means-tested program," meaning it has nothing to do with work history, but strictly with financial need. To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income.

Disabled people who are eligible under the income requirements for SSI are also able to receive Medicaid in the state they reside in. Most people who qualify for SSI will also qualify for food stamps, and the amount an eligible person will receive is dependent on where they live and the amount of regular, monthly income they have. SSI benefits will begin on the first of the month when you first submit your application.

What Is SSD?

Social Security Disability Insurance is funded through payroll taxes. SSDI recipients are considered "insured" because they have worked for a certain number of years and have made contributions to the Social Security trust fund in the form of FICA Social Security taxes. SSDI candidates must be younger than 65 and have earned a certain number of "work credits." After receiving SSDI for two years, a disabled person will become eligible for Medicare.

Under SSD, a disabled person's spouse and children dependents are eligible to receive partial dependent benefits, called auxiliary benefits. However, only adults over the age of 18 can receive the SSD disability benefit.

There is a five-month waiting period for benefits, meaning that the SSA won't pay you benefits for the first five months after you become disabled. The amount of the monthly benefit after the waiting period is over depends on your earnings record, much like the Social Security retirement benefit.

By Fred Wahl
the Visa Coach

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