Illegal immigrants receive Social Security: a widely circulated myth passed along on the Internet

Illegal Aliens (film)
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I repeatedly see e-mails and other information that claims Americans are being ripped off by illegal aliens who do not pay taxes, but collect Social Security benefits.

That simply is not true.  Illegal aliens are not eligible for these benefits or most others as well, except things like emergency medical care.  In fact quite the opposite is true.  Illegal aliens pay a considerable amount in Social Security taxes because they must present a Social Security number when employed, but the numbers don’t belong to them.  See a summary below from Wikipedia:

Illegal immigrants pay social security payroll taxes but are not eligible for benefits. During 2006, Standard & Poor’s analysts wrote: “Each year, for example, the U.S. Social Security Administration maintains roughly $6 billion to $7 billion of Social Security contributions in an “earnings suspense file” — an account for W-2 tax forms that cannot be matched to the correct Social Security number. The vast majority of these numbers are attributable to undocumented workers who will never claim their benefits.”[13]

The Social Security Administration has stated that it believes unauthorized work by non-citizens is a major cause of wage items being posted as erroneous wage reports instead of on an individuals earnings record.[18] When Social Security numbers are already in use; names do not match the numbers or the numbers are fake, or the person of record is too old, young, dead etc., the earnings reported to the Social Security Agency are put in an Earnings Suspense file [ESF]. The Social Security spends about $100 million a year and corrects all but about 2% of these. From Tax Years (TY) 1937 through 2003 the ESF had accumulated about 255 million mismatched wage reports, representing $520 billion in wages and about $75 billion in employment taxes paid into the over $1.5 trillion in the Social Security Trust funds. As of October 2005, approximately 8.8 million wage reports, representing $57.8 billion in wages remained unresolved in the suspense file for TY 2003.[18]


  1. 255 million mismatched wage reports = 255 million identity theft victims.

    255 million mismatched wage reports = 255 million jobs that Americans could be doing.

    I think we are trying to polish a Turd.


    1. There’s no identity theft, the Social Security numbers are made up. The money that doesn’t show up is the money that goes into someone’s account when a fake number actually matches a real one. If you want to boost your Social Security benefits, give your number to a bunch of illegals.

      It’s not 255 million jobs. Those accounts were accumulated over 75 years.


    2. Hmm, that’s 255 million mismatched wage reports between 1937 and 2003 — a span of 66 YEARS, scout. I don’t know of anyone looking to time travel back to 1937 to get a job. I think if people would research these things with an objective mindset instead of looking to bolster preconceived conclusions fed by propagandists on both sides of the issue, we might actually achieve some reasonable, pragmatic resolution. But I wonder if that’s what people really want. Often it seems that too many people simply want to engage in perpetual conflict.


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