SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — The federal authorities filed a short late Monday to the U.S. Supreme Courtroom arguing Congress has the authority to withhold Supplemental Security Earnings advantages from U.S. residents relying on the place they stay whilst President Joe Biden promised to increase these advantages to Puerto Rico.
In its 57-page submitting, the U.S. Division of Justice urged the Supreme Courtroom to reverse a ruling final yr by the U.S. Courtroom of Appeals that acknowledged anybody from the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico can apply for the supplemental advantages, which are supposed to assist aged, blind and disabled individuals who wrestle financially.
An estimated 700,000 folks on the island would qualify for the advantages, legal professional Hermann Ferre mentioned.
The Justice Division argued in its submitting that the right venue for deciding the problem is Congress and never the courts. “It’s to Congress that the Structure has entrusted the facility to manipulate territories and to spend cash for the final welfare,” it mentioned.
The submitting stems from the case of José Luis Vaello Madero, who lived in New York from 1985 till he moved to Puerto Rico in 2013 to look after his spouse. He stored receiving the supplemental advantages till informed in 2016 that he was ineligible. A yr later, the Social Security Administration filed civil motion towards Vaello, demanding he return greater than $28,000 he had acquired in the advantages whereas dwelling in Puerto Rico.
The advantages can be found to any U.S. citizen dwelling within the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Mariana Islands, however are denied to these in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.
Biden, nonetheless, mentioned in an announcement that the supply is inconsistent along with his administration’s insurance policies and values. “I name on Congress to amend the Social Security Act to increase these advantages to the residents of Puerto Rico. … There might be no second-class residents in the USA of America,” he mentioned.
As an alternative of supplemental advantages, Puerto Rico has a program known as Assist to the Aged, Blind and Disabled. Individuals can’t make greater than $65 a month to qualify, in contrast with $750 month-to-month for the Social Security supplemental profit. The typical profit acquired beneath Puerto Rico’s program is $77 a month, in contrast with $533 with the Social Security program.
Greater than 40% of the island’s 3.3 million folks stay in poverty, a price greater than any U.S. state.