TN 34 (12-23)

SI 00502.158 Individuals Who Received Informal Denials Based On Alien Eligibility Law In Effect Prior To 8/5/97

A. Policy

Individuals who inquired about supplemental security income (SSI) benefits on or after 8/22/96 may have received informal denials based on alien status under 1996 welfare and immigration reform law. These individuals, who never filed applications, may now be eligible under the alien eligibility provisions of P.L. 105-33, the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, which was enacted on 8/5/97.

Through 3/31/99, SSA will treat the date of these individual's prior inquiries as protective filing dates, regardless of whether or not the prior protective filings were closed out. This is a departure from the usual SSI protective filing closeout instructions that apply to oral inquiries and written statements.

NOTE: For these special instructions to apply, the field office (FO) must have proper documentation that the protective filing occurred. (See SI 00601.030 for documentation requirements.)

These instructions also apply to an individual who is receiving SSI based on an application filed after the prior 60-day protective filing period elapsed (for example, the SSA-L991-U3 was issued in 12/96 and the individual subsequently filed a claim in 5/97). If such an individual comes to your attention, consider whether an earlier filing date can be established based on the instructions in this section.

EXAMPLE: On 2/25/97, an 80-year-old disabled lawfully admitted for permanent residence (LAPR) alien inquired about filing for SSI. The alien could not be credited with 40 qualifying quarters (QQs) of coverage and did not meet the "military/veteran" exception. The claims representative (CR) advised the individual that, under the law then in effect, the individual was not an eligible alien and therefore could not receive SSI. The alien chose not to file a claim. On 2/26/97, the CR issued an SSA-L991-U3 to close out the inquiry.

On 11/24/98, the alien again inquired about SSI eligibility. The alien showed the CR the SSA-L991-U3 they received in 1997 and indicated they now wish to file for SSI. Based on the date of the prior inquiry, the CR established a protective filing date of 2/25/97.

IMPORTANT: Be alert to situations where an individual never received an informal denial but a deemed filing date can be established based on a determination that the individual was misinformed by SSA about the then current SSI alien eligibility criteria or the right to file an SSI claim (GN 00204.008). (Note, however, that if SSA gave out eligibility information that was correct at the time, that does not constitute "misinformation.")


An alien inquired about filing for SSI. The SSA representative told the individual (incorrectly) that only U.S. citizens can receive SSI. As a result, the individual chose not to file a claim.

B. Procedures

Apply the policy in SI 00502.158 to an SSI claim filed by an individual:

  • who submits evidence of a prior informal denial based on alien status; or

  • for whom acceptable evidence of a protective filing date can be established per

    SI 00601.030A.5.

Adjudicate the claim to award or denial following current POMS policies and procedures.

C. References

  • Basic SSI Alien Eligibility Requirements, SI 00502.100

  • Exemption from Alien Provisions for Certain Noncitizen Indians, SI 00502.105

  • Time Limited Eligibility for Certain Aliens, SI 00502.106

  • General Alien Development, SI 00502.110

  • Verification of Alien Eligibility with DHS, SI 00502.115

  • Qualified Alien Status Based on Battery or Extreme Cruelty By a Family Member, SI 00502.116

  • Eligibility on the Basis of Receiving SSI Benefits on an Application Filed Before January 1, 1979, SI 00502.120

  • Documentary Evidence of Qualified Alien Status, SI 00502.130

  • LAPR with 40 QQs of Earnings, SI 00502.135

  • Veteran or Active Duty Member of the Armed Forces, a Spouse, or a Dependent Child, SI 00502.140

  • Qualified Aliens Who are Blind or Disabled and Lawfully Residing in the U.S. on

    8/22/96, SI 00502.142

  • Development of Marital Relationships, SI 00502.145

  • Qualified Aliens Receiving Benefits on 8/22/96, SI 00502.150

  • Readjudication of N13 Denials that Were Based on Alien Eligibility Law in Effect Prior to 8/5/97, SI 00502.152

  • SSI Eligibility for Nonqualified Aliens Who Were Receiving SSI on 8/22/96, SI 00502.153

  • Alien Systems Input Instructions, MSOM MSSICS 008.001 -1, SI 00502.142, and

    SM 01005.630 ff.

To Link to this section - Use this URL:
SI 00502.158 - Individuals Who Received Informal Denials Based On Alien Eligibility Law In Effect Prior To 8/5/97 - 12/07/2023
Batch run: 12/07/2023