White House: Immigrants Allowed to Stay May Be Eligible for Benefits

Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) January 28, 2015 - Law would allow those who qualify under executive action to collect disability, other payments.

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On November 25, key details about how President Obama’s executive action on immigration reform would translate into policy emerged. In an email, White House spokesman Shawn Turner stated that undocumented immigrants would be eligible to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits: "If they pay in, they can draw.”

Federal law states that people who pay taxes and have been determined to be “lawfully present in the United States” are allowed to collect government benefits once they become eligible. The leading federal programs impacted by the law are Medicare and Social Security, including survivor and disability benefits as well as retirement benefits sanctioned under the law.

“The fiscal framework for paying Social Security and Medicare benefits to those people who are deemed eligible already exists through the collection of payroll taxes,” said David W. Magann, a prominent attorney in Tampa, Florida who specializes in Social Security disability law. “And anyone who is eligible to collect Social Security retirement benefits may have a valid disability claim as well.”

In 2014, more than 59 million people drew $863 billion in Social Security benefits. The average monthly checks included $1,294 for retirees, $1,146 for disabled workers and $1,244 for survivors.

The White House stressed that the estimated 5 million immigrants who would be allowed to stay in the United States under the president’s executive order would not be eligible for benefits such as food stamps, housing subsidies or student financial aid, nor will they be able to purchase healthcare insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Reassurance that the president’s action on immigration would not be all-encompassing on benefits was cold comfort to Republicans on Capitol Hill. Congressional Republicans were already furious that immigrants who have been in the United States more than five years, who have passed a background check and who have paid back taxes as well as future taxes would be allowed to remain in this country.

“The White House revelation that some immigrants will be eligible to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits came shortly after Republicans took full control of Congress in the midterm elections,” Magann said. “And with heightened partisan tension in the context of a divided government on tap for 2015, it will be interesting to see if Washington will be able to enact any legislation to shore up the finances of the Social Security disability program.”

David W. Magann, P.A.
Main Office:
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175

Tampa Office:
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618


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