In the recent setback to gender equality in the United States, Puerto Rico has once again been denied the same rights as other parts of the United States. The Supreme Court has ruled that as a territory and not a state, the same rules and rights do not have to be transferred to the island that exists in other parts of the United States..
One of the points from Justice Kavanaugh, which wrote the 8-1 statementwas it “Just as not every federal tax covers residents of Puerto Rico, so not all federal benefits include residents of Puerto Rico.”
This argument was criticized by Justice Sotomayor, she herself of Puerto Rican descent and the only deviant voice. She said this decision could be used to target citizens living in states that pay much less federal taxes, such as Vermont, Wyoming, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana and Alaska.
“[The ruling] makes it much easier for Congress, a body in which the territories are not represented, to treat residents of those territories differently from those living in the states; – not only for supplementary security income, but for all federal benefit programs, ” said CNN’s Supreme Court analyst Steve Vladeck.
Puerto Rico is not a state in the United States, it is a territory. This gives Congress the power to decide on its relations with the island, despite the fact that the island has no representation in this process. These rulings and decisions are rendered to Puerto Rico, with no real opportunity to stand up for themselves.
In the adjacent United States, citizens are entitled to SSI payments when their monthly earnings drop to below $ 750 a month. In Puerto Rico, where the people are also nationals, they can not earn more than $ 65 a month. To reinforce this, the average benefit on the island is a paltry $ 77 a month compared to the US average of $ 533 a month. Compared with, a person in Texas would receive ten times more than anyone in Puerto Rico from their jobs and SSI benefits combined if they worked just below the threshold. That’s not so strange 44 percent of Puerto Ricans living in povertyfar higher than any state in the United States.
Why was the case brought before the court in the first place?
That The answer given was that of José Luis Vaello-Madero, 67, a disabled man who lived in New York from 1985 to 2013. After moving to Puerto Rico, he still received SSI payments for three years, after which he was hit by the Social Security Administration. They demanded that he pay back $ 28,000 in benefits he received while on the island.