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           07 October, 2022

Category:  Press » Politics & Government


Immigration Amnesty Would Give Hundreds of Billions in Social Security Money to Illegal Workers

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2010-07-27 05:47:00     
The Senior Citizens League

The "Earnings Suspense File" (ESF), used by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to track names and Social Security numbers that do not match government records, has tripled over the past decade. The chief cause of growth in the file is unauthorized work by non-citizens, according to SSA Inspector General Patrick P. O'Carroll.

Under an immigration amnesty plan, millions of today's illegal workers would be eligible for hundreds of billions in Social Security dollars, as evidenced by the dramatic growth of the Earnings Suspense File.

The new data were obtained through an information request by The Senior Citizens League (TSCL), and represent the first time updated information about the ESF has been publicly released and analyzed since TSCL's original report in 2007. The analysis reveals that:

From 2000-2007 (the most recent years for which data is available), the file grew by an average of $67 billion per year in "uncredited wages," represented by 9.8 million wage reports per year. That is more than three times faster than the $18.9 billion and 5.2 million wage reports the file grew each year during the 1990s.
In just the three years since TSCL's last report in 2007, the Earnings Suspense File has jumped 43 percent, from $585 billion to $835 billion.
From 1937-1999 (a 63-year period), the ESF accumulated a total of $301.8 billion; from 2000-2007, it grew to $835 billion. When data from 2008 and 2009 becomes available, TSCL projects that the file will have tripled over just the past decade.

Under current law, a non-citizen who obtains authorization to work in the United States at some later date may become eligible for Social Security benefits – even for work performed in the country illegally using a stolen Social Security number. Upon receiving a valid Social Security number, unauthorized earnings can be reinstated into the worker's new, valid Social Security account – without penalty, and at taxpayer expense.

"Our more than one million supporters are crystal clear on one thing – they don't want one penny of their Social Security checks now, or in the future, to be taken away by the government and given to today's illegal workers as a reward for illegal work," said Daniel O'Connell, chairman of TSCL. "This is not about immigration reform. This is about protecting Social Security's dwindling funds for American citizens."

It is important to note that the ESF tracks wages, and does not represent the amount the government would have to pay out in future benefits. Rather, a percentage of the $835 billion in wages currently in the file would have to be paid out in Social Security benefits as eligible beneficiaries come forward. Also, there is no money in the file; when an eligible beneficiary makes a claim, the money to payout benefits must come from another source.

"Supporters of immigration reform often claim that since many illegal workers paid into Social Security, they should be able to receive benefits. But what they don't tell you is that they many workers will receive more in benefits than they put in, and the difference will be subsidized by American taxpayers," said Shannon Benton, TSCL executive director.

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 www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information.

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Shannon Benton


Specialized in: Immigration - Social Security Money - Illegal Workers
URL: http://www.seniorsleague.org/
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