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Social Security payments to Canadians

Original post made by Karen, Danville, on Nov 27, 2010

Recently we had a couple of visitors from Canada. Years ago my husband had worked in Canada for an american company for five years and we made friends with these two couples. The men were both Canadians and their wives were both Americans and the couples after marrying lived and worked exclusively in Canada. Anyway, during the course of the evening Paula said that she went down to the state of Washington to apply for social security. While there she was told that her entitlement was going to be $1500 per month and that her husbands entitlement was going to be $791 per month! Her husband is a Canadian citizen who had never worked a minute nor lived a minute in the US. I could not believe this and the other couple told us the same thing about their situation. How can this be? They said they even asked the social security representative about this and he told them this is just one of the many reasons why the country is going bankrupct. Does anyone know of this? Does it also apply to americans marrying illegals from Mexico? Love my friends but hate the law.

Comments (6)

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I am not surprised. Illegals can go to college and get financial aid, they get reduced lunch in k-12, they get medical.

I also know a couple (he is a US citizen by birth, she is european) who enjoy the benefits of the US (social security etc) and the free college of the country she is from. That is why both Europe and the US are going bankrupt - France just tried to reform retirement age, Ireland was bailed out, etc

part of reforming social security and pensions is to make sure that people like the canadian couple cannot get money from US taxpayers

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 28, 2010 at 3:26 pm

"millions of Americans receive SS benefits...can anybody prove who they are and where they are from"

The government should be able to prove who is and who is not a citizen. After all, you have to accumulate a certain number of credits to get the minimum social security benefit. That has to be proved with tax statements, and it should not be tax statements from foreign countries

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Posted by b
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2010 at 8:54 am

It's a retirement plan, not a handout. If you work in the U.S., you pay into the system and earn future benefits for you and your family. Your annual SSA statement shows what benefits you've earned. You don't lose those benefits youve paid for once you earn them.

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Posted by financial planner
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Nov 29, 2010 at 9:10 am

As the spouse of someone who paid into social security, you can receive up to 50% of their benefit if it is greater than your own benefit would be. It would appear that the wives in this case paid into social security and their husbands are getting the spousal benefit. If the husbands receive a similar benefit from Canada, they will probably have their US benefit reduced (it's called the windfall elimination provision). This is not a shocker, nor is it outrageous.

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Posted by grace
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Nov 29, 2010 at 9:22 am

"Does it also apply to americans marrying illegals from Mexico?"

If you marry someone they're no longer illegal.

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Posted by J Flack
a resident of Stoneridge Park
on Nov 29, 2010 at 11:46 am

I think the original story has left a lot of detail out.

The United States, Canada and most Western European countries coordinate Social Security benefits so that people cannot double or triple dip. i.e. Work ten years in Canada, UK and US and get three checks sent to Bali.

The US government (Social Security) also coordinates with the domestic plans (like old US Gov pensions, Railroad retirement plans, etc) that did not pay into Social Security at the same time or rate to prevent double dipping. You could learn these things in three minutes on Google.

According to a recent AARP article with supporting Census Bureau statistics, approximately one third of people over 65 have only social security to support them. Another third would be under the poverty level without their social security checks.

As a country we chose this system to make sure elderly weren't going homeless and a further burden to society. when a program so clearly helps a large part of our population why do people nit pick that there are abusers?

Other countries are trying other experiments. France has a retirement age of 60 and 55 for some government workers (think bus drivers, police and teachers - hmmmm) of course they have to fix it. Ireland needed to attract corporate investment so they dropped the corporation tax rate to one fifth of other countries, that experiment - and trusting in and buying American mortgages and derivatives - caused their problems.

Instead of whining, how about suggesting solutions and compromises that reflect ways we can solve problems with input from all "sides."


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