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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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There are 5 Comments

I have entered the us in 1981 with F1 student visa after that I worked with H1 visa for 5 years after which I got my green card. worked for a nother 10 years. then I returned to my country for family reasons. I have been living there for the last 12 years. I gave up my green card 5 years after returning to my country. I have the necessary credits but where does this put me as far as the insured status.

I am virtually disabled due to spinal degeneration and actually do clock in at my work place but miss so many days due to pain and am on prescription drugs and am becoming a risk due to ther ammount I have to take just to function.

I have to work or I will be on the streets but the pain is constant and becoming unbearable. I don't know what to do. I am told I have to be not working for 6 months to qualify. My surgeons all say they don't know how I can even get up and go in. I take lots and lots of IB profein asnd pain ,meds and go in.

By all rights I shouldn't and like I mentioned I am becoming a hazard to society but I have to in or be homeless. All my doctors will sign me off ass my disease has grown into 30 discs. Is there anyway ssi will make an exception where I can get my ssi so I can get my surgeries.

If I don't I may become paralyzed. I am in a very tuff position. I need ssi so very badly before I lose even just my lot rent of $340 per month. I need some help. Anyone havbe any ideas that may help ,me before it's too ;late.. Thank you/ Dennis H 321 4xx 3yyy

Yes, there is a five-month waiting period for Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits will be paid beginning with the sixth full month after the date your disability began. You are not entitled to benefits for any month in the waiting period.

You may want to apply for disability benefits as soon as possible :

You may also want to look into Medicaid :

Bless you.

I am trying to check on my claim status, should be getting my first check Oct. 16th 2013 Claim # 23...

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