While many Americans believe illegal immigrants don't pay taxes, billions of dollars deducted from paychecks issued to undocumented workers flow to the Social Security Administration (SSA) every year. Those workers almost certainly will never see that money again.
Social Security officials keep a record of wages that do not match up with real names and numbers in their system. The record is called the earnings suspense file.
In 2009, the last year for which figures are available, employers reported wages of $72.8 billion for 7.7 million workers who could not be matched to legal Social Security numbers.
Because those wages were reported by employers and not paid under the table, Social Security and Medicare deductions had to be made. A total of 12.4 percent of those wages went into the SSA system — 6.2 percent paid each by the worker and the employer. An additional 2.9 percent was paid into Medicare, half by the worker and half by the employer.
That means about $11.2 billion went into the Social Security Trust Fund in 2007, and $2.6 billion went into Medicare. While that money will be used to pay retirees and health-care beneficiaries, it most likely will never be claimed by the illegal immigrants who contributed it.