Is U.S. citizenship is required to receive disability benefits?Many believe that American citizenship is needed to receive Social Security benefits. But that’s not true. Resident aliens (or “green card” holders) may qualify to receive Social Security payments, as long as they meet some additional guidelines, such as having 10 years of work in the U.S. under their belts. If you work in the US, and pay taxes here, including “FICA” taxes that fund SOcial Security, you are fully eligible to draw on those contributions if you are disabled or when retire.
Some countries have what is called a “totalization agreement” with the US which allows their citizens to collect benefits even after returning to their native countries, with various offset provisions for other retirement programs. Social Security is like an insurance policy – you paid for it, you get it. Green card holders, however, must spend 30 calendar days every six months in the US to maintain their green cards and their eligibility once it is established.
The United States has Totalization Agreements with several nations for the purpose of avoiding double taxation of income with respect to social security taxes. These agreements must be taken into account when determining whether any alien is subject to the U.S. Social Security/Medicare tax, or whether any U.S. citizen or resident alien is subject to the social security taxes of a foreign country. As of this time, the following nations have entered into Totalization Agreements with the United States: