A report from the Social Security Administration’s inspector general revealed that more than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards and others who may have participated in the Third Reich’s atrocities collected $20.2 million in retirement benefits.
The Associated Press reports the inspector general said nearly a quarter of the total, $5.7 million, went to individuals who were found to have played a role in the Nazi persecution and had been deported. More than $14 million was paid to people who were not reported but to those who allegedly or were found to have assisted the Nazis in World War II in which millions of Jews perished in the Holocaust. The full report is expected to be released next week.
The watchdog report comes seven months after The Associated Press revealed benefits were paid to former Nazis after they were forced out of the U.S. The AP found that the Justice Department used a legal loophole to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the U.S. in exchange for Social Security benefits. IF they agreed to go voluntarily or fled the country before their deportation, they could keep their benefits.
Congress passed legislation to close the loophole and bar Nazi suspects from receiving benefits. President Obama signed the measure into law last year.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, a New York Democrat, requested the inspector general look into the scope of the payments following AP's investigation. "This report is another reminder that we must never forget the atrocities committed by the Nazis," Maloney said Saturday in an emailed statement. "According to this report, 133 alleged and confirmed Nazis actively worked to conceal their true identities from our government and received millions of dollars in Social Security payments."
The report doesn't include the names of the former Nazis and is narrowly focused on how many Nazi suspects received benefits. It criticizes the Social Security Administration for improperly paying four beneficiaries $15,658 because it did not suspend the benefits in time.
The report includes a detailed breakdown of how the payments were distributed.
The Social Security Administration last year refused the AP's request that it provide the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts.
The Associated Press contributed to this report