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US court upholds SSI for Puerto Ricans in key ruling

American Politics

US court upholds SSI for Puerto Ricans in key ruling

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — The U.S. Court of Appeals issued a key ruling on Friday that allows anyone from Puerto Rico to apply for Supplemental Security Income at a time when the U.S. territory is mired in a 13-year recession.The decision comes after the federal government filed a lawsuit seeking to recover more than…

US court upholds SSI for Puerto Ricans in key ruling

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico– The U.S. Court of Appeals provided a crucial judgment on Friday that allows anybody from Puerto Rico to request Supplemental Security Earnings at a time when the U.S. territory is mired in a 13- year economic crisis.

The decision follows the federal government filed a lawsuit looking for to recover more than $28,000 in SSI special needs benefits paid to a U.S. citizen after he moved from New york city to the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico to take care of his other half.

One of the male’s lawyers, New York-based Hermann Ferre, told The Associated Press that an approximated 700,000 individuals in Puerto Rico certify for SSI.

” This is a substantial case,” he said.

The ruling involved the case of José Luis Vaello Madero, who resided in New york city from 1985 until 2013, when he transferred to Puerto Rico. He continued to get payments up until 2016, when he was informed he was disqualified. The Social Security Administration then filed civil action versus him in 2017 demanding he return the funds he got.

SSI advantages are granted to help senior, blind and handicapped people who have a hard time financially. The advantages are offered to any U.S. resident living in any of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the Mariana Islands. Nevertheless, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam are left out, while American Samoa is not qualified.

Puerto Rico instead has a program called Aid to the Aged, Blind and Handicapped. To certify, people have to make $65 or less a month, compared to $750 month-to-month for SSI. In addition, the typical advantage gotten in Puerto Rico under that program is $77 a month, compared with $533 with SSI. The island of 3.2 million individuals has a hardship rate of more than 40 percent, greater than any U.S. state.

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The U.S. Court of Appeals kept in mind in its 45- page ruling that the federal government in part used two explanations for omitting Puerto Rico homeowners: the island’s special tax status and the costs of extending the program to those residing in the U.S. area. As part of its action, the court mentioned: “The residents of Puerto Rico not only make considerable contributions to the federal treasury, but in reality have actually regularly made them in greater quantities than taxpayers in a minimum of six states, along with the area of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Jenniffer González, Puerto Rico’s representative in Congress, applauded Friday’s ruling.

” Puerto Rico’s territorial status has been the root of discrimination against U.S. residents on the island,” she stated.

Ferre stated he anticipates the federal government will likely appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material might not be released, broadcast, reworded or rearranged without consent.

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