Did you know that disabled and senior refugees get SSI? Fort Wayne, IN Somali case is illustrative

And, some receive it virtually upon arrival in the US.

Update May 13th:  Here is Part II of Said’s saga:  SSA wants some of the money back, here. When you read this see if you ask yourself the same question I do—do any of the do-gooders think any of this through before pushing more and more destitute refugees into our social ‘safety’ net?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides cash to low-income people who are either aged (65 or older), blind, or disabled.

This story is from the Fort Wayne New-Sentinel.

A few years ago we wrote extensively on Ft. Wayne and its huge Burmese refugee population.  In fact it is the first place we learned that refugees are admitted to the US with TB.  The Ft. Wayne (Allen County) health department was struggling with a large number of cases in 2007 (and may still be).

So, now comes a story about a Somali who hasn’t been able to work and has been receiving kidney dialysis.  But, he is up against the little-known ‘seven year rule’ which says an immigrant must become a citizen within 7 years of arrival in order to continue to receive taxpayer-funded services like SSI.

The focus of the story is Sugow Said who was resettled in Ft. Wayne in 2004 and is illustrative of the consequences and cost of resettling refugees who will make no contribution to America.

After arriving in Fort Wayne, Said first worked at a cemetery, then later for an office cleaning company.

Said’s life now revolves around dialysis treatments. He has end-stage renal disease, likely due to living for years with untreated high blood pressure before coming to the United States. Since starting dialysis in 2010, he has been physically unable to work at the cleaning job or another one that accommodates his stringent three-days-a-week dialysis schedule and his limited labor and very limited English language skills.

We are told that Nyein Chan, refugee resettlement coordinator for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, helps run the only resettlement program in Ft. Wayne at the moment.

Because of his disability, in early 2011, Said applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In an April 11, 2011, letter, Social Security informed Said: “We have carefully reviewed the facts of your case and have approved the claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits that you filed on Jan. 18, 2011.”

SSI initially provided a lifeline of $535 a months for the family, which includes the Saids’ three youngest children, all now teenagers. By 2014, annual adjustments by the Social Security Administration (SSA) had increased Said’s SSI monthly check to $721.


The SSA operations manual states qualified aliens with disabilities are told when first receiving SSI about the seven-year time limit in which they must gain U.S. citizenship or lose their SSI. An annual reminder about the seven-year rule is also to be mailed to each recipient.

Only in Said’s initial 15-page approval letter, which he was never able to read on his own, was the rule mentioned and explained.


Health department clinics see a growing number of older refugees with physical and mental disabilities, McMahan [Allen County Commissioner of Health Dr. Deborah McMahan] said.

“I recently had an 80-year-old who was seeing and hearing things,” she noted. “How am I going to teach him English?”

Congress in the past has addressed the seven-year rule, with National Senior Citizens Law Center, now called Justice in Aging, helping lead those efforts for nearly two decades, said Gerald McIntyre(cq), directing attorney for the agency whose mission is to fight senior poverty through law.


“No one is spending time on this now,” he said. “It is really hopeless. There is such hostility,” he said, even for humanitarian immigrants.

No kidding!  Too many refugees with too many needs will eventually sour initially welcoming and generous Americans on the whole scheme.  Concerned citizens and taxpayer are asking—-what about our own poor and disabled people?

There is much more, read it all here.

Catholic Resettlement Programs throughout the US—resettling refugees and ‘Unaccompanied alien children.’

I just discovered this handy list at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website of all their resettlement offices in the US!

Maybe the Bishops could pony-up the money needed by Mr. Said?

See our Ft. Wayne archive, here.  This post is filed in our ‘where to find information’ category and in our ‘health issues’ file.   New readers might want to check those out.

8 thoughts on “Did you know that disabled and senior refugees get SSI? Fort Wayne, IN Somali case is illustrative

  1. refugees go into the cash program SSI – which almost always means medicaid, foodstamps, housing, etc too – at a rate 4-8 times that of the average American. Probably their “sponsors” are running a scam to get the SSI disability for mental illness or or another made-up illness. There needs to be a study of this trend. And for most, SSI is a lifetime entitlement, though eventually they do have to become citizens – how inconvenient!


  2. We can’t provide needed services for our Vets. returning from war but we “need” to help those that have contributed NOTHING, to our society?! Not only is the Obama administration incompetent to handle the affairs of the American people, it is also proven that it is INSANE!


    1. Are you kidding Bonnie!! You do, and me, and all the other hard working Americans, some whom may never be able to qualify for such benefits themselves…this is a crime in my book, and all of our so called representatives should be held accountable and dealt with. Call or write your’s , and tell them this must stop at the borders. There should be any one from another country who may be ill allowed into our country, simply in order to sponge off the American Taxpayers. I can assure you that there are currently thousands of them doing just that right now, and ten times that many Americans who cannot get the needed help for themselves, again, criminal in my opinion!! When my ancestors came here from Europe, they had money in their pockets, and a desire to work and earn their citizenship, which they did, for many years, accepting nothing in government help.


      1. Why are we helping aliens, possible terrorists, when we have thousands upon thousands former military who served their country,leaving under bridges as they are homeless.
        Hofdew many children are also living under bridges and other places,mothers being homeless?
        What is wrong with this government?
        I declare that not even a penny should be spent with my and your money to aid any other country, refugies and illegal aliens, until every mother and child, homeless Americans military and their families are housed and provided with proper care, food , and medical services.
        Let’s take care of our own, citizens, green card bearing legal aliens, first!


        1. Bernard, these refugees are ‘green card bearing legal aliens.’ I think one of the concepts we need to get away from is the idea that LEGAL immigration is all good. It isn’t, it is completely out of control and must be reformed and in some cases halted completely!


          1. Sorry Ann, I totally disagree with you. We need to worry about the citizens that are living outdoors, under bridges, card boxes. Lets provide these citizens with shelter, food and medical services. Let us train them into jobs so that they become self worthy and re-become part of the chain of success for themselves and be part of rebuilding our system. Our system is broken…millions are starving in the USA, but we provide aid to countries that mock us and even despise us. WHY??? Our welfare system is totally messed up thanks to our government intervention. Just to strengthen this statement, today, our congress asked for a raise for themselves, while American Serviceman and women our living in the streets and starving. I think they ought to reduce their pay by 20 percents and only get 50 percent pay for retirement and only if they have served 20 years as it it mandated for our military.


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