What are Social Security Benefits?
If you are a new immigrant or if you plan to bring your green card parents or relatives who are senior citizens (62 and older) to US, the foremost question in your mind might be: What is the criteria to receive Social Security Benefits? The Social Security Benefits include Retirement Benefits (people who have retired), Disability Benefits (people who are disabled), Survivors Benefits (survivors of workers who have died), and the benefits for the dependants.
Social Security Benefits for Green Card Holders or Permanent Residents
The Social Security system functions on a fundamentally simple principle: As you work in the country, you pay Social Security taxes, which in turn earns you social security credits. You can earn maximum up to 4 credits in a year. As of 2013, Permanent Residents or Green Card Holders need $1160 of earnings to get 1 credit. Green Card Holders need 40 credits (equivalent to 10 years of work or 40 quarters) to be eligible for Social Security Benefits.
New Immigrant and Green Card Holders usually confuse Social Security Benefits with Medicare. They are not interrelated. They are two separate bodies governed by the Federal government. When you enjoy the Social Security Benefits, you get a certain amount of cash in your hand depending upon your benefit. Whereas Medicare provides health insurance for immigrants and green card holders who are 65 years and older. The common aspect is that when you work, you have to pay taxes for both Social Security and Medicare.
The underlying criterion to receive Social Security Benefits is that you have to work and pay Social Security taxes in this country for a minimum of ten years. Your dependents that are your spouse and children (mainly under 18) are entitled to these benefits. Your parents and your relatives are not classified as dependents. Even if they have Green Card they might have worked and paid taxes in another country. Thus, according to Social Security Administration they are not eligible for social security benefits.
For further information on social security benefits go to: you can visit www.socialsecurity.gov
For New Immigrants, Green Card Holders or US Permanent Residents who do not qualify or are not eligible for US domestic insurance or Medicare, can buy temporary health insurance providing medical coverage.