After World War II ended, many Nazis found their way to the U.S. This much we know.
Some of them were later forced out of the country once their activities during the war came under scrutiny. But they continued to receive Social Security benefits even after they left.
As an Associated Press investigation found, the Justice Department used a legal loophole to persuade suspected Nazis to leave in exchange for the benefits. Millions of dollars were paid out to those who left. That loophole is now a step closer to being plugged.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously today to block suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving Social Security benefits. The measure, introduced after the AP investigation, would end benefits for Nazi suspects who have lost their U.S. citizenship. Under the current law, such benefits only stop after a final deportation order.
Here's Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., a co-sponsor of the bill, on what the measure would achieve:
A vote in the Senate is expected in the coming weeks.
Here's more from the AP's story:
"The Social Security Administration refused AP's request that it provide the total number of Nazi suspects who received benefits and the dollar amounts. AP appealed the agency's denial of the information through the Freedom of Information Act."
One former Nazi tracked by the news service now lives in Croatia and collected Social Security payments of about $1,500 a month.