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SCOTUS Rules Puerto Ricans Don’t Have Constitutional Right to Disability Benefits

HeadlineApr 22, 2022

The Supreme Court has ruled the federal government can continue to deny benefits to seniors and people with disabilities living in Puerto Rico. In an 8-1 ruling on Thursday, justices sided with the Biden administration, which says Puerto Ricans aren’t entitled to claim full Supplemental Security Income benefits — or SSI — unless they move to the mainland.

The lone dissenter was Justice Sonia Sotomayor, whose parents were born in Puerto Rico. She wrote in a dissenting opinion, “There is no rational basis for Congress to treat needy citizens living anywhere in the United States so differently from others. To hold otherwise, as the Court does, is irrational and antithetical to the very nature of the SSI program and the equal protection of citizens guaranteed by the Constitution.”

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