Supreme Court Decision Could Have Big Consequences For Social Security and Medicare

Supreme Court Decision Could Have Big Consequences For Social Security and Medicare

The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide a case in June that could have far -reaching implications for Social Security and Medicare. The Obama Administration has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate its executive action plan on immigration. The plan would give temporary relief from deportation and work permits to almost 5 million unauthorized immigrants. Should the Supreme Court find in favor of President Obama, his Administration would have 7 months to implement the program before his term ends.

The plan was blocked in lower courts after the state of Texas and 25 other states sued, saying that Obama had exceeded his authority. TSCL filed a “friend of the court” brief, in support of Texas and the other states, arguing concerns about costs to Social Security and Medicare.

Changes in U.S. immigration polices impact the finances of Social Security and Medicare. Policies that expand legal immigration would result in new payroll tax revenues from immigrant workers flowing into Social Security and Medicare, strengthening program finances. On the other hand, policies that provide new work authorization to immigrants who are already working in this country illegally would provide new access to Social Security and Medicare benefits that could be based, at least in part, on earnings worked under invalid or fraudulent Social Security numbers.

TSCL surveys over the past decade have indicated that the vast majority of older adults are overwhelmingly opposed to the government policy of allowing credit toward Social Security benefits for work under invalid and fraudulent Social Security numbers. A large number of the comments we receive are focused on the belief that immigrants are benefiting at the expense of U.S. citizens. Many older voters perceive unauthorized immigrants as benefiting from Medicaid, tax refunds for children, food stamps, and that children of unauthorized immigrants are swelling the enrollment of public schools. Meanwhile, the same voters are watching in disgust as lawmakers make surprise Social Security cuts, and battle down to the last minute over the question of whether to repay revenues borrowed from the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.

Regardless of what the court decides, TSCL believes that Congress needs to enact legislation that would prevent Social Security credits for unauthorized work done under illegal, stolen or invalid Social Security numbers. TSCL supports the No Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act (H.R. 1716), introduced by Representative Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48).