Results 1 to 9 of 9
  1. #1

    Default Can a Non-Citizen Spouse Receive Social Security Survivor's Benefits

    Hello, this is my first post so please be kind. I'm asking for a friend, this is not for me, but she is a very dear and close family friend. I will refer to her as Yvette, she is a 63 year old hispanic female. I will try to keep this as short as possible.

    Yvette's husband died last year. Her husband was a naturalized US citizen. Yvette is not a citizen or resident, but she does have work permit (granted recently) and a social security number. Her SSN was granted several years ago. She was also granted a work permit at that time, but it expired a year after being issued. Yvette's new work permit was granted a little over month ago.

    Yvette is trying to claim widower's benefits from the SS department because when her husband retired, the SS agent told them that Yvette could be written down as the heir to his benefits when he passed away. On a quick note, Yvette's husband died from liver cancer which is why he inquired about her being heir to the benefits, he was 64 years old. They filled out a form and that was that. At that time, Yvette did not have a valid work permit, the one she had expired years go. So the SS agent told Yvette that she would need to show documentation of legal presence in the country when her husband passed away and she was ready to claim the benefits.

    The problem now is that Yvette met with a very aggressive and unfriendly SS agent. I was there as her interpreter (Spanish speaking friends/relatives, lived in Argentina for 12 years), but for some reason the SS agent insisted that Yvette use an office interpreter over the phone. I stayed in my seat and heard everything. This agent told Yvette that her application for widow's benefits would most likely be accepted... BUT, the retroactive benefits would only apply to months where she can prove legal presence in the country.

    The part about proof of legal presence makes sense to me, but MY personal problem is that the SS agent told her this, verbatim; "Make sure nobody else sees to your case! I'm the only one that can handle it. So when you come back, bring the documents to me, and only me." Why would she say that? That just felt wrong. The SS agent's behavior was off, like she was upset or angry. After the meet, I asked Yvette if the interpreter had done a good job. Yvette said that the interpreter sounded a someone who barely spoke Spanish but that the rough interpretation was good enough for her to get the general idea of the conversation.

    So the question(s) is(are): Is the SS Agent being a *bad word* and giving Yvette a hard time? Yvette is in need of those retroactive payouts. Is there no hope for her to get the maximum six months of retroactive payouts?

    Thanks for any help guys.
    Tom.

    Ps. I just realized that I didn't specify what "documents" the SS Agent wanted. She wants a letter for the DHS stating that Yvette had "legal presence" status going back 6 months.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    She does need to prove her legal status.

    I do have a question though - her original work visa expired, and she is not a green-card holder, correct? Which means that at the time of her husband's death, she did not actually have legal presence - is that right?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,066

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    It sounds like the worker she dealt with is her caseworker. So it makes sense that she needs to deal with him/her. It is best to deal with a interpreter that is familiar with social security than someone who isn't. It may take a month or two or longer for her benefits to start after all requested documentation is received. The benefits will be reduced by a small amount because she is 63 and that won't increase when she reached full retirement age. Did she earn enough on her own record to receive more than she will be receiving on her husbands record?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    The question of whether she had legal status when her husband actually died is going to be critical; the answer is going to determine whether or not she's a "qualified alien".

    Why on earth didn't she petition for residency, I do not know. Doesn't make sense to me, but my feelings are irrelevant anyway.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    @Dogmatique (1)
    Correct. Yvette did not have any documentation stating legal presence at the time of her husband's death.

    @Mercy&Grace
    I don't know. Maybe? She's had the same job for over 25 years.

    @@Dogmatique (2)
    I actually asked her about that, and she told me that she received the "interview letter" from the DHS years ago, but never went. She said at that time there were plans to move back to Argentina.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    Quote Quoting tomdelaney74
    View Post
    @Dogmatique (1)
    Correct. Yvette did not have any documentation stating legal presence at the time of her husband's death.

    @Mercy&Grace
    I don't know. Maybe? She's had the same job for over 25 years.

    @@Dogmatique (2)
    I actually asked her about that, and she told me that she received the "interview letter" from the DHS years ago, but never went. She said at that time there were plans to move back to Argentina.
    This is going to be messy. She didn't have legal status when her husband died, and she is not a "qualified alien" as defined by SSA. I'm not entirely sure how she managed to get another work permit in these circumstances, either.

    I do feel for her. I was widowed very young, and it's hard enough trying to cope without the complications of immigration and social security issues. (I'm also an immigrant!). But I really think she needs to get professional help because I do think that however nasty or weird the representative may have been, she's actually correct in what she said about legal status and according to everything I've found online, it's questionable whether or not she's entitled to anything at all.

    I'm still looking though, so hang in there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Posts
    3,066

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    If she didn't go to the interview then nothing was done and she doesn't have what SSA needs.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Somewhere near Canada
    Posts
    35,894

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    Quote Quoting Mercy&Grace
    View Post
    If she didn't go to the interview then nothing was done and she doesn't have what SSA needs.
    Yep, that's what I'm getting at (in a much more verbose manner, clearly!).

    Yvette really needs to come here herself or give Tom the relevant information we need - such as why there was an interview to start with. Did her husband sponsor her, and were they applying for residency based on her marriage? Was she applying on her own merit (work visa)? What?

    - - - Updated - - -

    Oofda. Okay, here we go:

    Non-citizen spouses must meet additional requirements. First, they must be in a "qualified alien" category as defined by the Department of Homeland Security. According to the Social Security Administration, "qualified" aliens meet one of several requirements. They have been lawfully admitted for permanent residence or granted conditional entry under Section 203(a)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as in effect before April 1, 1980.

    Alternatively, they have been paroled into the United States under Section 212(d)(5) of the INA for a period of at least one year or are a refugee admitted under Section 207 of the INA or granted asylum under Section 208 of the INA. They could also be one whose deportation is being withheld under Section 243(h) of the INA, as in effect before April 1, 1997 or whose removal is being withheld under Section 241(b)(3) of the INA, or a "Cuban and Haitian entrant" as defined in Section 501(e) of the Refugee Education Assistance Act of 1980. If you received your Social Security number after 2004, you must meet additional requirements to be eligible.
    Note the first paragraph.

    This is directly from SSA and while this page talks about SSI, the criteria listed apply across the board.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Widow's Benefits for Non-Citizen

    Thank you all for the replies. They are extremely helpful! We really appreciate the fact that everyone stayed on topic.

    @Dogmatique: Thank you for taking the time to find that paragraph.

    God bless.

    1. Sponsored Links
       

Similar Threads

  1. Survivors Benefits: Can a Child Receive Social Security Survivor Benefits Directly
    By Jessicajo35 in forum Social Security Law
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 08-14-2015, 06:14 PM
  2. Survivors Benefits: Can You Collect Social Security Survivor Benefits While Receiving Disabilty Benefits
    By Alston in forum Social Security Law
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 01-04-2015, 12:13 PM
  3. Survivors Benefits: How to Get Survivor Benefits from Social Security
    By slgreen in forum Social Security Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-22-2013, 12:52 PM
  4. Survivors Benefits: Social Security Survivor Benefits Eligibility
    By suze444 in forum Social Security Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-10-2010, 06:05 PM
  5. Survivors Benefits: Social Security Survivor Benefits for an Employed Ex-Spouse
    By kimorjarrett in forum Social Security Law
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 03-24-2009, 07:26 AM
 
 
Sponsored Links

Legal Help, Information and Resources