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. 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.