The Saint Louis area is home to many people from other countries who want to work in the United States. In general, immigrants can work in the United States if they are authorized to do so by the Department of Homeland Security.
Each working U.S. citizen must have a Social Security number. The Social Security number provides wage information to the government and is also used in determining a worker’s eligibility to receive Social Security benefits.
Do immigrants or non-citizens also need to have a Social Security number in order to work in the U.S. and become eligible for collecting Social Security benefits, including Social Security disability benefits? The answer is yes.
In order to obtain a Social Security number, a prospective immigrant can apply for it at the time of applying for an immigration visa from their country of origin. If application is made by this method, an immigrant does not have to visit the Social Security Administration after coming to the United States. However, if a non-citizen did not apply for a Social Security number along with the visa application, the individual has the option of visiting the Social Security Administration in person. The documents that the applicant needs to produce along with the application include DHS papers, which show the immigration status, and papers that show authorization for working in the United States.
It is advisable for non-citizens to wait for 10 days after their arrival in the United States for applying for their Social Security number. This will help authorities verify their DHS documents online and speed up processing their Social Security number application. They do not need to pay any fee for their Social Security application and they will get their Social Security card free as well.
Source: SSA.gov, “Social Security Numbers For Noncitizens,” Accessed on Feb. 27, 2015