SCOTUS Rules: The Senior Citizens League Tells How the Ruling Affects the Strength of Social Security

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Immigration changes that provide only permission to work in this country, or temporary work authorization, could have potentially add millions of new claims in the future.

“President Obama’s executive actions on immigration would have provided long - term access to Social Security benefits for people who worked in this country illegally,” says TSCL Chairman, Edward Cates.

The U.S. Supreme Court decision on immigration has significant consequences for Social Security and Medicare, says a recent report by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL). “President Obama’s executive actions on immigration would have provided long - term access to Social Security and Medicare benefits for people who worked in this country illegally, even though the newly - issued green cards are only temporary,” says TSCL Chairman Ed Cates.

President Obama’s executive actions on immigration would have provided temporary work authorization to more than 4 million undocumented immigrants and with that comes controversial access to Social Security and Medicare, the Congressional Budget Office has said. That access is particularly controversial among older voters, according to surveys by TSCL.

A key unresolved issue is whether undocumented immigrants, who illegally worked using invalid or fake Social Security numbers, would be able to claim work credits towards benefits for those earnings. Work authorization, or “green cards,” not citizenship, is the key requirement for noncitizens to become entitled to Social Security benefits and Medicare when other program qualifications are met. According to the Congressional Budget Office, even “limited” immigration changes that provide only permission to work in this country, or temporary work authorization, could potentially add millions of new claims in the future. Under current law Social Security benefits are based on all earnings, including earnings from jobs worked without authorization under invalid and fraudulent documents.

A survey conducted by TSCL from January through May 15, 2016 found that 83% of older voters oppose entitlement to Social Security and Medicare benefits based on earnings from jobs worked without legal authorization. “Concern is high that undocumented immigrants who were illegally present and who worked under fake, invalid, or fraudulent Social Security numbers may benefit based on such work, potentially at the expense of others who paid into the system the legal way,” says TSCL Chairman, Ed Cates.

TSCL believes that Congress should strengthen Social Security’s protections by enacting legislation to prohibit the use of unauthorized earnings from being counted toward eligibility for Social Security benefits.

To learn more and to participate in TSCL surveys and polls, visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org

With 1.2 million supporters, The Senior Citizens League is one of the nation’s largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Its mission is to promote and assist members and supporters, to educate and alert senior citizens about their rights and freedoms as U.S. Citizens, and to protect and defend the benefits senior citizens have earned and paid for. The Senior Citizens League is a proud affiliate of The Retired Enlisted Association. Visit http://www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.

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Shannon Benton
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