Legal immigrants in the United States are eligible for Social Security Retirement and Social Security Disability Insurance just as any native-born citizen of the United States would be. Immigrants can collect Social Security benefits if they meet the requirements for work credits or qualify with earnings they made abroad. In order to be eligible to collect Social Security, you must first apply for a Social Security number. Once you have a Social Security number, you can begin the process of earning the required amount of work credits to be eligible for benefits.
If you are a legal immigrant who has not earned enough work credits in the United States, you can be eligible to receive Social Security benefits with the credits you have earned in your native country, if your native country is one of the 26 countries with which the United States has made Social Security agreements. These agreements are called totalization agreements.
If you are a legal immigrant who meets the criteria to collect disability established by the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can collect disability income if you are a worker and you become disabled. In order to collect Supplemental Security Income (SSI), however, you must be a citizen of the United States who has limited financial resources and who is disabled, age 65 or older, or who has children who are disabled. If you are not a citizen of the United States and want to collect SSI, you must be considered a qualified alien.
See more here: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/spotlights/spot-non-citizens.htm
Learn how to become a citizen: https://www.uscis.gov/
By: Joyce Trudeau of Premier Disability Services, LLC®