Undocumented immigrants granted work permits as a result of President Obama’s executive amnesty would be able to claim Social Security benefits for work performed illegally, according to a new Congressional Research Service memo.
The CRS memo, issued at the request of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, confirms that amnesty beneficiaries would not only be able to claim Social Security benefits but would be able to receive credit for work they did before their status was adjusted. In other words, illegal work.
“Under the November 20, 2014, policy memorandum, foreign nationals who receive deferred action status may be eligible for work authorization,” the memo reads. “As a result, a foreign national who receives deferred action status may be able to have all of his or her Social Security-covered earnings count toward qualifying for a Social Security benefit (all earnings from authorized and unauthorized work).”
The report notes that while undocumented immigrants granted amnesty will technically be able to receive credit toward their Social Security benefit calculation, it could be difficult to prove their earnings — ironically because they would have been accruing benefits for a stolen or false Social Security number.
“[I]t is unclear how easy it will be for a foreign national to prove that earnings credited to a Social Security number that was not issued to the foreign national (i.e., credits earned while the person was working without authorization) belong on his or her earnings record,” the report reads.
Interestingly still, in terms of Social Security benefit policy, foreign nationals granted Social Security benefits do not even need to be in the U.S. to claim those benefits.
“Notably, the concept of lawfully present is only a factor when an alien is trying to receive a benefit payment in the United States. In many situations, foreign nationals who qualify for a Social Security benefit are able to receive benefits outside the country,” the report notes.
The CRS memo comes on the heels of revelations that amnesty beneficiaries will also be able to claim up to three years of earned income tax credits — before they were granted deferred status and a Social Security number — for work performed illegally.
Tuesday Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee introduced a bill to prevent illegals granted amnesty from claiming the EITC for illegal work.
“Obviously, if the object of the earned income tax credit is to encourage work, it makes no sense to provide such an incentive to those who are not legally allowed to work,” Grassley said on the Senate floor. “Why would we want to encourage individuals to break our immigration laws?”