Deportation Might Lead to Losing Benefits
(Column: Ask the Attorney)
It depends on why a person is deported
Maro Constantinou, Staff Attorney, MFY Legal Services
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One reader stated that she recently lost her status as a legal permanent resident and was deported from the United States. She was receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments of about $1,000 per month before her deportation. Once deported, she received a notice terminating her SSDI benefits because of her change in legal status.
Her question was, “Is this legal?”
It might be. While not enough facts were presented in the reader’s account to give a concrete answer, it is possible to lose your SSDI benefits once you are deported from the United States. The source of law on this topic is 20 CFR 404-464.
In order to be eligible for SSDI payments, you must meet certain criteria. Among the criteria is an immigration requirement. While there are instances in which a beneficiary can get benefits while residing outside of the United States, that is not the case when the person is deported from the United States.
A person can be removed or deported from the United States for many reasons. These reasons include “crimes of moral turpitude,” multiple criminal convictions, aggravated felony, crimes related to controlled substances, and the list goes on. If you have been deported because you fall into these categories, your SSDI benefits will be terminated. However, there are some instances of deportation which do not affect SSDI benefits.
Once the Secretary of Homeland Security or the Attorney General of the United States gives the Social Security Administration (SSA) notice that a person was deported or removed, SSDI benefits are terminated in or after the month SSA receives notice. A person’s benefits may resume once she is lawfully permitted to return to the United States to reside here permanently.
As this is a complex area of law with specific exceptions, your reader should seek legal consultation from an attorney who specializes in Social Security benefits to find out if her benefits were properly terminated. If her benefits were properly terminated, she might want to consult with an immigration attorney to talk about her legal status and the possibility of being permitted to return to the United States to reside here permanently.
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