The U.S. Senate has Voted to Give Social Security Benefits to Illegal Aliens—Even Though They Have Not Paid Into It-Fiction!

Summary of eRumor:

A couple of these are circulating, both in the form of petitions.

One says that the U.S. Senate has voted to allow illegal aliens to collect on Social Security even though they have not paid into the Social Security System.

Another is an internet petition originated by Californians that is to be sent to President Bush, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and several members of Congress from California.  It says that the U.S. Senate voted to give Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants and protests it..  It asks that citizenship be required for eligibility for Social Services, that no free services or funding be given to illegal immigrants, and that no college education be provided free to illegals either.

The Truth:

First, Internet petitions have, so far, been of limited or no value.  They do not bear the same weight of signed petitions since anybody who wants to take the time could generate them and just make up the names.  These petitions also depend on someone to ultimately send them to the right addresses, which is not a reliable way to get them there.  

Second, let’s look at each of the issues in the eRumors.

The Senate Vote on Social Security that generated this petition was in May, 2006. The effect of that vote was to allow language in other legislation on the issue to proceed.  It would not have granted Social Security benefits to all illegal aliens but it would have allowed illegal aliens who had already paid into Social Security to accrue the benefits of their contributions.  The Senate went on to pass a controversial immigration bill but it differed greatly from a version passed in the House of Representatives.

Social Security
As of this writing, Illegal immigrants are not benefiting much from Social Security.  It’s technically illegal to hire an undocumented worker so theoretically there should not be any paying into Social Security.  But because of so many illegal workers who use bogus Social Security cards to get jobs, billions of dollars of Social Security deductions are made each year as well as employer payments into Social Security on behalf of those workers. Illegals are not supposed to collect on Social Security and because their Social Security numbers are manufactured, they cannot collect so the money has become a part of the controversy over Illegal immigration.  There have been some estimates that more than $60 billion a year are being paid into the system because of illegal immigrants, money that would disappear if the immigrants did.

Immigration reform being debated in Congress could affect all this such as if amnesty is granted to illegal aliens currently residing in the U.S. or if illegal aliens are given some kind of participation in the Social Security system.  There is no legislation, however, that would give illegal aliens Social Security payments if they have not paid into Social Security.

Social Services
Let’s look at this from the standpoint of California since that is the concern of the petition and is the state with the largest population of illegal immigrants.

A wide range of services are available in California for illegal immigrants including health care and education for children.

College Tuition
At present in-state college tuition rates are available to undocumented immigrants as long as they meet other standards such as residency requirements.

Updated 3/30/07

A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:


Version #1

My mom was a homemaker and dad worked all his life and paid into SS. She
grew up during the depression, watched her husband go overseas to fight in
WW II a year after their marriage, and then she went on to raise, feed and
clothe 3 children, scrounging to buy food, clothing and medical costs. I’m
sorry, but I can’t see how the Senate can justify this slap in the face to
born and bred, or naturalized citizens. It is already impossible to live on
Social Security alone. If they give benefits to “illegal” aliens who have
never contributed, where does that leave us that have paid into Social
Security all our working lives?

The Senate voted this week to allow “illegal” aliens access to Social
Security benefits. Attached is an opportunity to sign a petition that
requires citizenship for eligibility to receive s oc ial services. If you do
not wish to sign the petition yourself, please for! ward on to anyone you
think might be interested. *Linda Harris

PETITION FOR: President Bush

Version #2

PETITION FOR: President Bush, Gov. Schwarzenegger, and Congressman Dana Rohrbacher

Gentlemen and Mr. President: The petition below is a protest against the recent senate vote to allow illegals access our social security!

We demand that you and all congressional representatives require citizenship for anyone to be eligible for social services in the United States. We further demand that there not be any amnesty given to illegals, and NO free services or funding, or payments to and for illegal immigrants. NO free COLLEGE education, when American citizens have to get loans to pay for their childrens’ education.
We are fed up with the lack of action about this matter and are tired of “paying” for services for illegals!

Agree or Delete: Instructions to sign are at the bottom.

1. [Name]
2. [Name]
3. [Name]
4. [Name]
5. [Name]
7. [Name]
8. [Name]
9. [Name]

To add your name, click on “forward” or copy and paste. You will be able
to add your name at the bottom of the list and then send it to your friends.

If you don’t forward the petition and just stop it, we will lose all these names. If you do not want to sign it, please just forward it to everyone you know. Thank you!!!


 Thank You!