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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    5

    Cool Social Security Benefits for Aging Parent with Green Card

    I'm a US citizen. My mom is a European citizen and has been living and working in Sweden for many years. She's getting older (just turned 61) and I've been thinking about getting her a green card and bringing her to permanently stay with me.

    The problem is that in leaving that country and becoming a permanent resident here, she will lose about half of her social security from Sweden and some of her independence along with it. I'm wondering how many years she will need to work in U.S. to be eligible for any social security benefits at all. Is there a minimum amount that senior citizens past a certain age will receive no matter how many years they have worked here?

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,123

    Default Re: Social Security Benefits for Aging Parent with Green Card

    Look at this reference (totalization):

    http://www.socialsecurity.gov/intern...n.html#monthly

    As a family sponsored green card holder, her sponsor (you) must sign an affidavit of support. You are responsible for her living costs; she may not become a public charge. This is detailed in USCIS documetation. The most difficult thing is health insurance which will be difficult to purchase and expensive. She will qualifiy only for emergency Medicaid, not any normal treatment or surgery costs; if she receives services paid by Medicaid, they can come after you for reinbursement. After age 65 and holding a GC for 5 years, she may buy into Medicare; the ssa.gov website provides information on the premiums. Some states offer high risk insurance pools for people unable to obtain health insurance in other ways; in my state, the premiums have gone as high as $4,000/month for certain age/gender combnations. Look for one in your state.

    There are very limited resources for people in her situation even after being her the required 5 years; there are long waiting lists in most communities for subsidized housing, etc. Some states have programs for people in her situation, but most do not.

    You are wise to investigate this before making that commitment. Too many people sponsor an elderly parent and then worry about covering the costs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Social Security Benefits for Aging Parent with Green Card

    Thank you very much for offering advice and detailing multiple issues.

    A follow on question:
    What if she came with a GC and started working or managing her own business here? She is doing the same in Europe right now and other than the capital required to start her business -- which I would be providing as investment -- I can't think of any big obsticles.
    I understand that for my generation, I must be 67 years or older and and have worked 40 Quarters (10 years) with a minimum of $9,000 per quarter salary to qualify for full retirement.

    She's too old to be thinking about working another 10 years (probably 12 years from today if time to get GC is factored in).

    Basically, I'm wondering how many years she'll need to count of working full time and paying social security taxes to be able to collect.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    1,123

    Default Re: Social Security Benefits for Aging Parent with Green Card

    The first link (totalization) is the critical one. This is what you need to look at since it takes into account the work of an individual in several countries covered by treaties related to retirement benefits. I know they exist but am not familiar enough to comment further. I suspect that they are very country dependent. I suggest that you contact an attorney (see the AILA org website for immigration law specialists) who is familiar with the EU specific country/countries involved. You will likely have to interview several. Remember, immigration law is federal so that the best person to help need not be in your city or state. Look for a legal practice that has either an office or a long established relationship with a firm in Sweden. They would likely be your best resource.

    If she becomes a small business owner, she may be able to utilize state programs which offer health insurance specifically for small businesses.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    5

    Default Re: Social Security Benefits for Aging Parent with Green Card

    Can't thank you enough...

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