Social Security benefits to legal and illegal Mexican immigrants?-Truth!

Proposed Agreements between the U.S. and Mexico Would Provide U.S. Social Security Benefits To Hundreds of Thousands of Mexicans-Truth!

Summary of eRumor:
The email says that a “totalization” agreement between the U.S. and Mexico would grant Social Security benefits to Mexicans, including some who are here illegally, even if they didn’t work in the U.S. long enough to qualify for Social Security benefits.
The Truth:

According to the Social Security Administration, the U.S. has similar totalization agreements with other countries including Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada Norway, and the United Kingdom.
Critics are hopping mad about a totalization agreement with Mexico.  They say it will cost upwards to one billion dollars to provide Social Security benefits to Mexicans who will qualify.  They say that at a time when the Social Security system is such a focus of concern, it’s not time to grant such benefits to such a large group of foreigners.
Supporters say totalization benefits large numbers of Americans too, not just foreigners in the U.S..  One of the problems, according to the Social Security Administration, is that Americans, for example, who have worked in both the U.S. and a foreign country may end up being double taxed for retirement benefits.  Additionally, there are some workers who have worked, for example, for a period of time in the United States then worked for a period of time in a foreign country, but failed to qualify for benefits in either country.  The totalization agreements allow both U.S. and foreign workers to qualify for benefits based on the combined coverage of both countries..  According to the Washington Post, there is an estimated 37,000 Mexicans who worked legally in the United States and paid into Social Security but have not been able to collect their checks.  One of the controversies of totalization is that it may include thousands of foreign workers who were in the U.S. illegally but did pay into Social Security.  Immigration reform in 1996 cut their benefits.
Updated 1/21/03 Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Canada, Norway, and the United Kingdom