Among the first priorities for many arriving under the Uniting for Ukraine program is to obtain due benefits. However, there are quite a few instances in which local SSA and other benefits-granting offices are not aware of which benefits Ukrainians are eligible for and how to administer those benefits to recent arrivals. For example, we have heard of situations in which health insurance providers want a Social Security Number, but the local SSA office informs people that they cannot issue an SSN before applicants receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). Or, some SSA offices don't want to issue a non-working SSN in states where Ukrainians are eligible to receive certain benefits without having an SSN (for example, in New York State).
For the purposes of obtaining benefits, all family members can apply for non-working SSN at their local SSA local office. If they are applying for Medicaid, they should be able to get a letter from the benefits-granting agency stating they need an SSN in order to be able to process their Medicaid application. They can take that letter to the SSA, which should then issue them a non-working SSN. The SSA offices can confirm these provisions directly in their Program Operations Manual, found at
It also helps to come to the SSA with a form from a government agency that states they need an SSN. Here are two sample letters requesting an SSN for non-work purposes from various agencies:
The above sample letters are from CA, but we are aware of Ukrainians who have shown these sample letters to benefits-granting offices in other states or used the letters as templates to take to their local SSA offices. They have even worked for people who had been previously turned away that same week.
Ukrainian applicants for benefits must bring passports and I-94 printouts. It is important for them to emphasize that they will be getting federal benefits through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).