5 findings about Social Security for Nazi suspects

AP News
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Posted: Oct 19, 2014 9:07 PM

An Associated Press investigation found that dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments, through a loophole in U.S. law, after being forced out of the United States.

Five things to know about the findings:

DOZENS OF NAZI SUSPECTS RECEIVED PAYMENTS

Since 1979, at least 38 of 66 suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards forced from the United States collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments.

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FOUR STILL COLLECTING

Today, at least four former Nazis who participated in the persecution of Jews and other civilians during World War II are living in Europe and receiving Social Security benefits.

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OLD-AGE BENEFITS USED AS LEVERAGE

The U.S. Justice Department denied using Social Security benefits as a tool for removing former Nazis. But records show the State Department and Social Security Administration voiced grave concerns over the methods used by the Justice Department's Nazi-hunting unit, the Office of Special Investigations.

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ATTEMPTS TO STOP PAYMENTS FAILED

The payments flowed through a loophole in the law that a group of U.S. lawmakers attempted but failed to close in 1999. The Justice Department opposed the bill, saying it would undermine the effort to remove Nazi suspects as quickly as possible to countries that would prosecute them. Only 10 were prosecuted.

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PAYMENTS SHROUDED IN SECRECY

The Social Security Administration refused the AP's request for the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts of those payments.