The United States Social Security Administration paid $20.2 million in benefits to more than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards, and others who may have participated in atrocities against Jews and others during World War II, an internal investigation seen by the 'Associated Press' has found.
The report, which AP says is scheduled for public release later this week, used data and other internal agency records to develop a comprehensive picture of the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the amounts paid to them. The payments werefar greater than previously estimated and occurred between February 1962 and January 2015, when a new law called the No Social Security for Nazis Act kicked in and ended retirement payments for four beneficiaries. The report does not include the names of any Nazi suspects who received benefits, AP reports.
The large amount of the benefits and their duration illustrate how unaware the American public was of the influx of Nazi persecutors into the US, with estimates ranging as high as 10,000. Many lied about their Nazi pasts to get into the the country.
The report showed that 133 alleged and confirmed Nazis actively worked to conceal their true identities from the US government and still received Social Security payments. Around $5.6 million was paid to 38 former Nazis before they were deported from the US, while 95 Nazi suspects who were not deported but were alleged or found to have participated in the Nazi persecution received a total of $14.5 million in benefits, says the report. It also criticized the Social Security Administration for improperly paying four beneficiaries $15,658 because it did not suspend the benefits in time.
“The report is further evidence how important it was that the loophole that allowed so many old Nazis to draw Social Security benefits has now been closed by Congress. At a time when tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors in their twilight years live below or at the poverty line and are struggling to make ends meet, it sent an important signal so that Washington stopped payments to those who aided in the attempt to murder them. The Associated Press deserves tremendous credit for bringing this unseemly issue to light,” said World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer in reaction to this story.