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Concerns over the solvency of Social Security are chronic, as future generations of retirees wonder whether the program will have enough money to pay them when it’s their turn to retire. 

Analysts have raised these concerns once again following the recent announcement of the 8.7% cost of living adjustment (“COLA”) to Social Security benefits. This 8.7% increase is set to go into effect next year to help retirees cope with record levels of inflation.

Our team of Louisiana-based immigration attorneys at Pelton + Balducci helps people from all over the world seek immigration relief.

So what do Social Security benefits have to do with immigration?

What is the new Social Security Benefits Increase?

Social Security benefits may change year-to-year, as the Social Security Administration makes an annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the benefits based on inflation.

This began when legislation was enacted in 1973 to provide for these COLAs. 

The latest COLAS has been calculated at 8.7 percent for Social Security benefits and SSI payments, which means these benefits will increase by 8.7 percent beginning with the December 2022 benefits, which are payable in January 2023. 

But it’s important to note that the solvency of Social Security – as well as numerous other federal programs – gets an unexpected assist from undocumented immigrants.

Social Security and Undocumented Immigrants

In a 2013 study, the Social Security Administration determined that undocumented immigrants had contributed about $12 billion to the program in 2010

The agency stated, “[O]ur projections suggest that the presence of unauthorized workers in the United States has, on average, a positive effect on the financial status of the Social Security program.” 

A 2014 Vice News article documented $100 billion in contributions to Social Security by unauthorized workers over the prior ten years. 

More recently, New American Economy found that undocumented immigrants had contributed $13 billion to Social Security funds in 2016 and $3 billion to Medicare. 

Since undocumented workers are ineligible for most federal programs, they will not benefit from these contributions. Instead, the fruits of their labor will be reaped by the rest of us.

What Kind of Impact Does this Work Have on Undocumented Immigrants?

While the extra cash undocumented immigrants provide to federal programs is a boon for these programs, it’s important to recognize that this benefit is paid for by some of the most marginalized members of our community. 

There are roughly 11 million undocumented people in the United States. 

This number highlights a broken immigration system that does not recognize the interdependence and potential synergies that exist between the United States and its migrant community. 

Just as the U.S. holds out the promise of a better life to these immigrants, these immigrants hold out the promise of a better United States.

We need an immigration system that embraces the reality of this interdependence and provides immigrants with more avenues to live and work in this country to the benefit of all.

Contact Pelton + Balducci Immigration Lawyers Today

At Pelton + Balducci, we believe that everyone deserves the chance to live their American Dream. Our team of immigration attorneys has over 50 years of combined experience helping future Americans achieve their aspirations. Contact our knowledgeable team in New Orleans, Louisiana to get started on your immigration journey today.

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