Immigrants who receive provisional legal status under President Obama’s new executive orders may be eligible for Social Security and Medicare or Medicaid benefits. Under the President’s plan, U.S. residents can apply for provisional legal status if they have lived in the U.S. for at least 5 years, can pass a criminal background check and have paid their share of taxes.
Provisional legal status, which must be renewed every 3 years, would allow qualified residents to obtain legal work permits and a Social Security number. Consequently, they would pay into Social Security and Medicare through payroll taxes and thusbe eligible for benefits. Only those years after they obtain provisional legal status would count towards Social Security benefits and these individuals would have to work at least 10 years, legally, in the U.S., to receive Social Security Retirement benefits.