SCOTUS to rule on federal benefit for territories


The U.S. Supreme Court will review a ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals that has implications for all U.S. territories, including Guam.

That’s according to a release from the group Equally American.

Equally American is an organization that advocates for American citizens living in U.S. Territories.

In United States v. Vaello-Madero, decided by the First Circuit last year, the United States is seeking to recover $28,081 in Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments that Jose Luis Vaello-Madero received after moving from New York to Puerto Rico.

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The federal government is also seeking a reversal of two rulings by U.S. federal courts that found the denial of federal benefits to citizens living in Guam and Puerto Rico to be unconstitutional.

In Schaller v. U.S. Social Security Administration, currently pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a federal district court judge in Guam ruled that the denial of SSI benefits to a disabled woman in Guam was unconstitutional. And in Peña Martínez v. U.S. Department of Health & Human Service, currently pending before the First Circuit, a federal district court judge in Puerto Rico ruled unconstitutional not just the denial of SSI benefits, but also the exclusion or Puerto Rico residents from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) and Medicare Part D low-income subsidies (“LIS”).