The Social Security Act restricts the payment of Title II benefits to noncitizens in the United States. Any noncitizen applying for benefits must be lawfully present in the United States to receive benefits.
Under the lawful presence payment provisions, claimants must submit appropriate original documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), such as the Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551) or Arrival/Departure Record (I-94), documenting their lawful presence in the United States when they apply for benefits. SSA employees use DHS’ online Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) program to validate the claimant’s lawful presence status before awarding benefits. Finally, SSA policy requires that it maintain all supporting material pertinent to an individual’s claim.
The objective of this report was to assess the effectiveness of the SSA's controls to ensure it pays beneficiaries in accordance with the lawful presence payment provisions.