Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Will Soon Be Eligible to Collect Social Security

Leah Barkoukis
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Posted: Mar 10, 2015 12:44 PM
Thousands of Illegal Immigrants Will Soon Be Eligible to Collect Social Security

Thanks to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, thousands of illegal immigrants will soon be able to collect Social Security.

National Review Online reports:

Starting in 2017, the Social Security Administration expects that thousands of undocumented immigrants will begin collecting from the Old-Age, Survivor’s, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program as a direct result of the president’s actions. In a letter to Republican senator Ron Johnson, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, the SSA’s chief actuary Stephen Goss indicated that an additional 16,000 people will begin collecting OASDI benefits come 2017, and that the number of beneficiaries would continue to increase for 40 years thereafter, topping out at 695,000 people. Goss’s projection may underestimate the number of potential beneficiaries, however, as it assumes that 50,000 fewer illegal immigrants will enter the country each year starting in 2016.

What’s more, the SSA is proceeding as if nothing has changed in the wake of a federal judge’s injunction against Obama’s November 2014 executive actions. Goss tells NRO that he expects 58,000 new workers will be covered under the OASDI program later this year, although they will not be eligible to collect benefits immediately.

In analyzing the Senate’s immigration bill last year, the Heritage Foundation’s senior policy analyst in economics and entitlements pointed out the problem with incorporating many undocumented workers into the system. (Emphasis mine.)

“While many undocumented workers operate off the books and do not pay taxes, a Heritage Foundation study estimates that 55 percent of undocumented workers are already contributing to Social Security,” Rachel Greszler wrote. “These undocumented workers are currently not entitled to any benefits based on the taxes they pay, but if they become legal through amnesty, they will be eligible for future benefits.”

“Thus,” she continued, “a majority of the undocumented workers who would be made legal through the proposed bill would be pure liabilities to the Social Security system; they would pay little, if anything, more in taxes than they otherwise would, but they would be eligible for full Social Security benefits.”

This news also comes on the heels of a report about the Social Security Administration’s glaring deficiency that has already opened up the system to errors and fraud, wasting millions of taxpayers' money annually.