NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Those who were a party to some of the most despicable acts in human history were paid retirement benefits by American taxpayers. More than 100 unnamed individuals known, alleged or suspected to have participated in Nazi persecution received more than $20 million in Social Security benefits. The payments continued for years – from 1962 until as recently as this past January.
Soviet Union archives revealed the identity of many Third Reich members and collaborators in the 1990s. But payments to some individuals continued as a legal loophole that allowed the Nazi suspects to leave the U.S., in exchange for Social Security benefits. The Associated Press reported the payouts last year, sparking a call for an investigation by Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY). Meanwhile, Congress voted to close the loophole, and President Obama signed the “No Social Security for Nazis Act” into law on December 18, 2014.
The Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration has released the report requested by Congresswoman Maloney, detailing the millions of dollars in benefits received by the individuals known and suspected of Nazi persecution or of committing crimes of genocide.
“We now have a full accounting of the Social Security benefits paid to alleged and convicted Nazis,” Maloney said in a statement. “More than $20 million in benefits were paid to 133 individuals who we have reason to believe participated in the atrocities of the Holocaust. It is outrageous that any Nazis were able to receive benefits, but this report also makes clear that the Social Security Administration lacked the legal authority to terminate benefits in far too many of these cases.”
The report details the $20.2 million in benefits paid to 133 individuals, saying the payments occurred “because the Social Security Act did not prohibit the payment of most of these benefits when they were paid.”
The Social Security retirement benefits included $14.5 million paid to 95 beneficiaries who were not deported and $5.7 million paid to 38 beneficiaries who were deported. Four beneficiaries were paid $15,658, because benefits were not suspended promptly after the Department of Justice issued the final order of deportation or removal.
“When the No Social Security for Nazis Act became law, four beneficiaries were affected by the new legislation,” the Inspector General’s report continued. “We found that SSA properly stopped payments to four beneficiaries who were in current pay status as of January 2015.”
Nazis and their sympathizers killed an estimated six million Jews -- nearly two out of every three European Jews – and as many as three million Soviet prisoners of war, as well as hundreds of thousands of others, including mentally or physically disabled individuals. Millions of other political opponents, and victims of ethnic, racial and religious hatred, were deported, enslaved and ultimately died in ghettos, camps and killing centers.