When the president recently announced his controversial plan of executive action in regards to immigration reform, many Americans were left with questions about the plan, who it affects and what the consequences of the plan may be. One of the beneficial consequences of the president’s immigration plan is that undocumented immigrants who apply for work permits in accordance with the plan will be eligible for certain government subsidies after working for a certain number of years and/or reaching retirement age, depending on the subsidy in question.
Upon retirement age, newly lawfully present immigrants who meet the new criteria will be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits and Medicare. However, they will generally need to work for 10 years as a documented worker before becoming eligible for these programs. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, lawfully present workers will need to work for between five and 20 years, depending on the circumstances.
It is worth noting that because the president’s executive action has not been passed by Congress, future lawmakers will need to extend and honor the plan that the president has laid out. Hopefully, as newly lawfully present workers will be paying into the Social Security system as their payroll taxes are deducted on a regular basis, future lawmakers will honor their contributions by allowing them to remain eligible for these benefits into the future.
When an individual becomes disabled, the financial burdens of this reality can become insurmountable. Hopefully this new policy reform will help to ease the burden of lawfully present immigrant workers who become disabled later in life.
Source: The Huffington Post, “Some Immigrants Eligible For Social Security Under Obama Immigration Executive Order,” Jim Kuhnhenn, Nov. 26, 2014