Public benefits for noncitizens


    Whether you are eligible for certain public benefits;

I am a noncitizen. What types of public benefits can I get?

Your ability to get various public benefits varies greatly depending on your immigration status and the type of benefit. While many federally funded public benefits, including social security (SSI), are mostly limited to U.S. citizens[3479], certain noncitizens known as “qualified” immigrants[3480] can sign up for state-sponsored government programs that offer similar benefits.

Qualified immigrants include:

    Lawful Permanent Residents (also called “Green Card holders”);
    Lawful Temporary Residents and visa holders;
    Asylees and refugees;
    People with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

If you are not a “qualified” immigrant, your ability to get public benefits is much more limited. However, you may still have access to benefits such as healthcare.

  1. 3479

    If you’re a noncitizen, you may be able to get SSI if you meet specific requirements; the rules on this are complex. Resources are available from California Immigrant Policy Center ( and National Immigration Law Center (

  2. 3480

    8 U.S.C. § 1641(b).