Watchdog says ex-Nazis got $20.2 million in Social Security

May 30, 2015, 10:36 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a forthcoming report triggered by an Associated Press investigation, the top watchdog at the Social Security Administration found the agency paid $20.2 million in benefits to 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.

The report, scheduled for public release this week and obtained by the AP, used computer-processed data and other internal agency records to develop a comprehensive picture of the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts paid out. The Social Security Administration last year refused AP’s request for those figures.

The payments are far 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.

The large amount of the benefits and their duration illustrate how unaware the American public was of the influx of Nazi persecutors into the U.S., with estimates ranging as high as 10,000. Many lied about their Nazi pasts to get into the U.S. and even became American citizens. They got jobs and said little about what they did during the war.

Yet the U.S. was slow to react. It wasn’t until 1979 that a special Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations, was created within the Justice Department.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., requested that the Social Security Administration’s inspector general look into the scope of the payments following AP’s investigation, which was published in October 2014. On Saturday, she said the IG’s report showed that 133 alleged and confirmed Nazis actively worked to conceal their true identities from the U.S. government and still received Social Security payments.

“We must continue working to remember the tragedy of the Holocaust and hold those responsible accountable,” Maloney said in a statement. “One way to do that is by providing as much information to the public as possible. This report hopefully provides some clarity.”

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. The Justice Department denied using Social Security payments as a way to expel former Nazis.

By March 1999, 28 suspected Nazi criminals had collected $1.5 million in Social Security payments after their removal from the U.S. Since then, AP estimated the amount paid out had grown substantially. That estimate is based on the number of suspects who qualified and the three decades that have passed since the first former Nazis, Arthur Rudolph and John Avdzej, signed agreements that required them to leave the country but ensured their benefits would continue.

The IG’s report said $5.6 million was paid to 38 former Nazis before they were deported. Ninety five Nazi suspects who were not deported but were alleged or found to have participated in the Nazi persecution received $14.5 million in benefits, according to the report.

The IG criticized the Social Security Administration for improperly paying four beneficiaries $15,658 because it did not suspend the benefits in time.

The report also said the Social Security Administration “properly stopped payment” to the four beneficiaries when the new law banning benefits to Nazi suspects went into effect. The agency did, however, continue payments to one suspect because he was not subject to the law.

The Social Security Administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But in informal comments to the IG, the agency and the Justice Department said the pool of 133 suspects included individuals who were not deported and may not have had any role with the Nazis. The Justice Department requested the report only include the names of 81 people it had provided to the IG and who had conclusively determined to be involved in the Nazi persecution.

___

Follow Rising on Twitter at http://twitter.com/davidrising and Herschaft at http://twitter.com/HerschaftAP and Lardner at http://twitter.com/rplardner

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

World News

(Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for BoF VOICES)...
Associated Press

Vivienne Westwood, influential fashion maverick, dies at 81

Vivienne Westwood, an influential fashion maverick who played a key role in the punk movement, died Thursday at 81.
1 month ago
FILE - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during his first Cabinet meeting flanked by his ...
Associated Press

Rishi Sunak: UK’s ex-Treasury chief gets his shot at PM job

LONDON (AP) — Rishi Sunak ran for Britain’s top job and lost. Then he got another shot — and the chance to say “I told you so.” The former U.K. Treasury chief was runner-up to Liz Truss in the contest to replace the scandal-plagued Boris Johnson as Conservative Party leader and prime minister. But Truss […]
3 months ago
Britain's Prime Minister Liz Truss addresses the media in Downing Street in London, Thursday, Oct. ...
Associated Press

Truss quits, but UK’s political and economic turmoil persist

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Liz Truss quit Thursday after a tumultuous and historically brief term marred by economic policies that roiled financial markets and a rebellion in her political party that obliterated her authority. After just 45 days in office, Truss became the third Conservative prime minister to be toppled in as many […]
3 months ago
People receive medical treatment at the scene of Russian shelling, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Oct. 1...
Associated Press

Russia unleashes biggest attacks in Ukraine in months

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia retaliated Monday for an attack on a critical bridge by unleashing its most widespread strikes against Ukraine in months, a lethal barrage that smashed civilian targets, knocked out power and water, shattered buildings and killed at least 14 people. Ukraine’s Emergency Service said nearly 100 people were wounded in the […]
4 months ago
This illustration made available by Johns Hopkins APL and NASA depicts NASA's DART probe, upper rig...
Associated Press

NASA spacecraft smashes into asteroid for defense test

A NASA spacecraft rammed an asteroid at blistering speed Monday in an unprecedented dress rehearsal for the day a killer rock menaces Earth.
4 months ago
Associated Press

At least 9 killed as Iran protests over woman’s death spread

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since the violence erupted over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press. The scope of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in […]
4 months ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Watchdog says ex-Nazis got $20.2 million in Social Security