Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) said Monday she's preparing to write a bill to make sure Nazi war criminals aren't given U.S. Social Security benefits.
Her comment was a reaction to an Associated Press investigation that found some Nazis and Schutzstaffel, or SS guards, have collected millions worth of Social Security benefits. The AP found that at least 38 suspects kept their benefits after being forced out of the United States since 1979.
This 1943 file photo shows Nazi officers talking with citizens of the Warsaw ghetto in Poland. An Associated Press investigation found dozens of suspected Nazi war criminals and SS guards collected millions of dollars in Social Security payments after being forced out of the United States. (AP Photo, File)
By 1999, 28 suspected Nazi criminals were paid $1.5 million in Social Security payments from the United States.
According to the AP, Social Security payments continued for some Nazis as part of a deal brokered by the Justice Department to encourage Nazis to leave the country, which would increase the chances that they would be prosecuted. The AP report said there are four living beneficiaries, including one who guarded the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, and another who guarded the Sachsenhausen camp in Germany.
According to Maloney, the government shouldn't be making any payments to former Nazis.
"It's absolutely outrageous that Nazi war criminals are continuing to receive Social Security benefits when they have been outlawed from our country for many, many, many years," Maloney said.
By Monday afternoon, Maloney asked the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General to investigate the report. "I have made a request to DOJ to provide information on Nazi war criminals who left the U.S. before being formally deported to accurately calculate the amount in Social Security benefits that has been paid to these individuals," she wrote. "I have yet to receive a response to my inquiry."
"I am particularly troubled by the notion that there is no mechanism to terminate benefits for individuals... identified as Nazi war criminals for whom a denaturalization process had started," she added.
She said she would soon propose a bill to block these payments. An aide to Maloney said Monday there were no further details about the bill and her efforts to pass it.
The House is due back November 12, after the mid-term election on November 4.