Suspected Nazi war criminals would be blocked from receiving Social Security benefits under a bill unanimously approved yesterday by the House, shutting a loophole that allowed suspected Nazis to be paid millions of dollars. Under the bill, benefits would be terminated for Nazi suspects who have lost their American citizenship. US law currently mandates a higher threshold—a final order of deportation—before Social Security benefits can be stopped. The legislation was introduced after an AP investigation in October revealed that Social Security benefits have been paid to dozens of former Nazis after they were forced out of the United States. AP's investigation found that the Justice Department used a legal loophole to persuade Nazi suspects to leave the US in exchange for Social Security benefits.
"We cannot allow Social Security benefits to continue flowing to those guilty of the worst atrocities in modern history," says Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY. The House vote came as two Republican senators demanded that the Obama administration provide Congress with records explaining how suspected Nazis received the payments and the role the Justice Department played in the program. Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah back legislation introduced in the Senate to strip former Nazis of their Social Security benefits. A vote on the Senate bill is expected in the coming weeks. Former Auschwitz guard Jakob Denzinger, who fled the United States in 1989 and lives in Croatia, collects a Social Security payment of about $1,500 a month, the AP found. Click for more on the investigation. (Read more Nazis stories.)