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Determining Insured Status

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at

201. Determining Insured Status

201.1 How does SSA determine insured status?

We use your lifetime earnings record reported under your Social Security Number (SSN). The number of quarters you have covered credits determine if you have enough credits for insured status. (See §212.6.)

201.2 How do the requirements of the Social Security Protection Act of 2004 (SSPA) affect insured status determinations?

Under Section 211 of the SSPA, an alien worker whose Social Security Number (SSN) was originally assigned on or after January 1, 2004, must meet one of the following additional requirements to be fully or currently insured and in order to establish entitlement to any retirement, survivors or disability Social Security benefit or Medicare based on End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). These additional requirements also affect entitlement of any family members of the alien worker who may otherwise be entitled to benefits based on the alien worker's earnings

  1. The alien worker must have been issued an SSN for work purposes at any time on or after January 1, 2004; OR

  2. The alien worker must have been admitted to the U.S. at any time as a nonimmigrant visitor for business (B-1) or as an alien crewman (D-1 or D-2).

If an alien worker whose SSN was originally assigned January 1, 2004 or later does not meet either of these additional requirements, then the worker is not fully or currently insured. This is true even if the alien worker appears to have the required number of Social Security credits to meet the insured status provisions.

201.3 Who is an "alien worker" under the SSPA?

For purposes of the SSPA requirements, an "alien worker" is a worker who is not a U.S. citizen or national of the U.S.

Last Revised: Aug. 9, 2005

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