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My wife is a resident alien upon my death can she claim my Social Security benefits.?

Saint Clair Shores, MI |
Attorney answers 2


I suggest you read through the information at this link: This Social Security publication suggests that as long as your spouse has documentation showing she is a legal resident alien, she can receive benefits from your wage earner's record.

There are a few other factors that could affect her entitlement to benefits from your wage earner's record, but they might or might not be present at the time of your death. For example, you would need to be fully insured (as regards Social Security benefit coverage) at your time of death--again the link above provides some useful information. Other factors that could change is Congressional revision of the Social Security statutes/programs to make the program means-tested, etc.

The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Oregon. Responses are based solely on Oregon law unless stated otherwise.


When is your wife eligible to apply for US citizenship? For people who are married to US citizens, the non-citizen spouse is eligible after being a permanent resident for three years. I always urge people to file as soon as they are eligible, unless there are criminal or other issues, and one reason is to protect their access to benefits in situations like yours. Permanent residence is easy to lose and offers limited rights, while citizenship offers much greater protection. If you have questions about the naturalization process, talk to an immigration attorney or check out some of the great resources available online--USCIS publishes a citizenship resource center here:

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