Audit: Social Security Paid Some $20 Million In Benefits To Nazis

social security
AP/Bradly C. Bower

The Social Security Administration paid out $20.2 million in benefits to individuals suspected or known to have participated in Nazi persecution during World War II, according to a review from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General.

The audit — conducted at the request of Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) — found that between February 1962 and January 2015, 133 individuals known or alleged to have participated in Nazi atrocities during World War II collected millions of dollars in benefits.

“This occurred because the Social Security Act did not prohibit the payment of most of these benefits when they were paid,” the audit reads.

“The $20.2 million in benefits included $14.5 million paid to 95 beneficiaries who were not deported and $5.7 million paid to 38 beneficiaries who were deported. Of the $20.2 million in benefits, SSA improperly paid four beneficiaries $15,658 because it did not timely suspend benefits the month after it received the final order of deportation or removal from [the Department of Justice],” it added.

In 2014 the “No Social Security for Nazis Act” became law. By the time that happened just four people were affected.

According to the audit, the Social Security Administration halted payments to the four individuals. Just one alleged Nazi continued to receive payments after the law’s passage.

“SSA did not stop payments to one additional beneficiary who allegedly participated in Nazi persecution because he left the United States before a deportation action was filed and did not have U.S. citizenship or a settlement agreement with DOJ,” the audit continued. “As such, the beneficiary who lived in Germany was not subject to the provisions of the new law and received payments until SSA terminated his benefits in May 2015 because of his death in March 2015.”

Maloney expressed outrage that any Nazi was ever able to access these benefits.

“This report reminds us that we still live with consequences of the Holocaust and it is still our responsibility to hold those who participated in Nazi war crimes 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 and helps inform sound policy in the future.”


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