BASIC (10-09)

RM 10211.610 Valid Reasons to Assign an SSN for Nonwork Purposes

Some laws and regulations require an SSN to obtain benefits or services. Following are examples of benefits and services that an alien could receive when legally in the U.S. without work authorization (or, in some cases, outside the U.S.) that require an SSN.

Included are guidelines explaining the required evidence for assigning an SSN. If you have any questions regarding whether the statute or regulation that the alien is relying upon meets the requirements, check with the Regional Office.

A. Examples of federally funded benefits

Most aliens eligible for federally funded benefits are work authorized and eligible for SSNs. In rare cases, a lawfully present alien who is not work authorized may be entitled to receive a federally funded benefit and, therefore, may be eligible for an SSN (e.g., Cuban-Haitian entrants).

1. Title II benefit

The Social Security Act (42 USC 405 (c)(2)(F)) requires a Social Security beneficiary to provide his or her SSN as a condition for receipt of benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act.

NOTE: For additional requirements to be fully or currently insured and to establish entitlement to any Title II benefit based on the alien worker's earnings, see RS 00301.102.

2. Medicare eligibility due to end stage renal disease (ESRD)

Medicare due to ESRD is a federally funded benefit and is a valid nonwork reason for assigning a nonwork SSN if the individual has provided documentation that he or she is otherwise entitled to this benefit.

NOTE: An undocumented alien parent or spouse is not eligible for a nonwork SSN merely to establish insured status for purposes of a dependent's ESRD claim.  We will only assign a nonwork SSN when an individual establishes his or her own entitlement to benefits. 

3. Title XIX Medicaid program

Since Medicaid flows from SSI entitlement in most States, alien Medicaid recipients are generally work authorized, and thus eligible for SSNs. However, an alien whose eligibility for Medicaid does not derive from SSI entitlement must provide documentation that he or she meets Medicaid eligibility or documentation of some other valid nonwork reason (see 42 USC 1320b–7 ).

4. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

Most alien TANF recipients should be work-authorized aliens and, thus, eligible for SSNs. However, if an alien, not otherwise eligible for an SSN, provides documentation that he or she meets eligibility for TANF, consider this a valid nonwork reason (based on 42 USC 1320b–7 ).

5. Food Stamps

Some aliens in the U.S. may be eligible for food stamps.

6. Other programs and laws

There may be other Federal laws requiring an individual to furnish his or her SSN to be paid the benefit or to receive the service. Check with regional office staff regarding whether the law or regulation the agency cites meets the requirements for assigning an SSN.

7. State or local benefits

In some instances, a State or local government may require an SSN for an individual to receive benefits from a State public assistance program (i.e., a fully or partially State-funded program [benefit or service] based on need).

If you have any questions regarding whether the statute or regulation that the alien is relying upon meets the requirements, check with the Regional Office.

B. References

  • GN 03325.001, Disclosure and Verifications of SSNs without Consent

  • GN 03340.000, Access to SSA Data – Disclosure

  • RM 10205.210, When Applicant Requests a Receipt for Filing an Application for an SSN Card

  • RM 10225.005, Requests for Social Security Number (SSN) Printouts

  • GN 03325.025, Request for Numident Printouts

  • RM 10215.110, Providing Written Notice When SSN or Card Cannot be Issued