Social Security Agreement With Mexico Released After 3 1/2 Year Freedom of Information Act Battle

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After numerous refusals
 over three and a half years, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has
 released the first known public copy of the U.S.-Mexico Social Security
 Totalization Agreement. The government was forced to make the disclosure in
 response to lawsuits filed under the Freedom of Information Act by TREA
 Senior Citizens League, a 1.2 million-member nonpartisan seniors advocacy
 group.
     The Totalization Agreement could allow millions of illegal Mexican
 workers to draw billions of dollars from the U.S. Social Security Trust
 Fund.
     The agreement between the U.S. and Mexico was signed in June 2004, and
 is awaiting President Bush's signature. Once President Bush approves the
 agreement, which would be done without Congressional vote, either House of
 Congress would have 60 days to disapprove the agreement by voting to reject
 it.
     "The Social Security Administration itself warns that Social Security
 is within decades of bankruptcy -- yet, they seem to have no problem making
 agreements that hasten its demise," said Ralph McCutchen, Chairman of the
 TREA Senior Citizens League.
     The U.S. currently has 21 similar agreements in effect with other
 nations, which are intended to eliminate dual taxation for persons who work
 outside their country of origin. All of the agreements are with developed
 nations with economies similar to that of the U.S.
     For example, a worker who turns 62 after 1990 generally needs 40
 calendar quarters of coverage to receive retirement benefits. Under
 totalization agreements, workers are allowed to combine earnings from both
 countries in order to qualify for benefits. The Agreement with Mexico, like
 other totalization agreements, would allow workers to qualify with just six
 quarters, or 18 months, of U.S. coverage.
     But Mexico's retirement system is radically different than that of
 other participating countries. For example, only 40 percent of
 non-government workers participate in Mexico's system, whereas 96 percent
 of America's non- government workers do. In addition, the U.S. system is
 progressive, meaning lower wage earners get back much more than they put
 in; in Mexico, workers get back only what they put in, plus accrued
 interest.
     "I applaud the persistent efforts of TREA Senior Citizens League to try
 to get documents from the U.S. Government about the U.S.-Mexico Social
 Security Totalization Agreement," said Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.). "The
 American people are finally beginning to get some of the information
 regarding this Agreement that they have been seeking for so long."
     According to the SSA, the Social Security Trust Fund will begin paying
 out more than it is taking in by 2017, and will be exhausted by the year
 2040.
     With 1.2 million members, TREA Senior Citizens League is one of the
 nation's largest nonpartisan seniors groups. Visit
 http://www.SeniorsLeague.org for more information or to see the
 Totalization Agreement documents.
 
 

SOURCE TREA Senior Citizens League

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