Government paid $20.2 million in Social Security benefits to more than 130 ex-Nazis who went on to live comfortably in the U.S.
- The payments were made over the course of 50 years with some being made as recently as this year
- Former guards at Nazi labour camps, where millions died, are among them
- The total paid out is millions of dollars higher than previously believed
- Thousands of former Nazis were able to settle into new lives in the United States with little scrutiny after the end of World War II
More than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards, and others who may have participated in the Third Reich’s atrocities during World War II collected $20.2 million in retirement benefits, according to the Social Security Administration’s inspector general.
In a report scheduled for public release next week and obtained by The Associated Press, 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 weren’t deported but were alleged or found to have assisted the Nazis during a period in which millions of Jews perished in the Holocaust.
Outrage: The US government has paid dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals millions of dollars. Here, in this picture from 1943, eight German officers held as U.S. prisoners of war arrive at the disinfestation area of the port at Hampton Roads, Virginia
The IG’s report comes seven months after an AP investigation revealed benefits were paid to former Nazis after they were forced out of the United States. 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 simply fled the country before being deported, they could keep their benefits.
Congress reacted swiftly by passing legislation to close the loophole and bar Nazi suspects from receiving benefits. President Barack Obama signed the measure into law late 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.
Stomach-turning: Former guards at Nazi labour camps, where millions died, are among those who received payments from the U.S. government, some as recently as this year
‘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 US justice department says benefits were paid to individuals who renounced thei US citizenship and left the country voluntarily, while others stayed living comfortable lives on the American taxpayers dime
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