Ex-Nazis received $20.2 million in Social Security.

Ex-Nazis Received $20.2 Million in Social Security

Ex-Nazis Received $20.2 Million in Social Security

The Slatest
Your News Companion
May 31 2015 8:37 PM

Ex-Nazis Received $20.2 Million in Social Security

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People line up outside of the Social Security Administration office on February 2, 2005 in San Francisco, California.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

As many as 133 suspected Nazi war criminals, SS guards and others who participated in atrocities under Adolf Hitler’s government received $20.2 million in Social Security benefits, according to a shocking report that will be released by the inspector general of the Social Security Administration later this week, reports the Associated Press. Although it was already known that ex-Nazis received Social Security benefits, the number is far higher than expected. The benefits were paid between February 1962 and January 2015, when a new law with the very descriptive name of No Social Security for Nazis Act was passed to prevent the payments from going through.

Why were so many benefits paid out? It was all part of a strategy. The AP explains:

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.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.