Social Security for Illegal Immigrants who have not contributed?  Fiction!

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