The Slatest

Congress Wants to Strip Nazis of Their Social Security


Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

If you don’t like the idea of your taxpayer dollars going to Nazis, then you might be happy about something Congress is expected to take up on Tuesday.

The unambiguously named No Social Security for Nazis Act is designed to, well, keep Social Security from going to Nazis. The reason Nazis are getting Social Security in the first place, per an October Associated Press report, is because of a loophole that let American Nazi-hunters in the Justice Department essentially bribe Nazis to leave the country voluntarily by promising them uninterrupted Social Security benefits.

About 15 years ago, there was a push in Congress to close that loophole. But the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, tasked with hunting the Nazis, opposed the move. Their top priority apparently was to get the Nazis out of the country, even if that meant they left with their Social Security benefits in tact. Without the carrot of Social Security money, it would ostensibly have been more difficult for OSI to get former concentration camp guards and their ilk to leave America. Bear in mind, of course, that the Nazis who came to the U.S. after World War II and got citizenship (and, thus, access to Social Security benefits) typically lied about or didn’t mention their past-life affiliations when doing so. Under current law, individuals who are denaturalized and deported because of Nazi affiliations don’t keep getting Social Security.

Thus, as the AP report detailed, one former Auschwitz guard now lives comfortably in “a pleasant town on the Drava River” in Croatia on his monthly $1,500 check. The AP estimates there are dozens of others like him. The specific number of Nazis currently getting Social Security checks is unclear, but the AP estimates they have raked in millions through the program.

Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas), who introduced the bill in the House along with nearly three dozen co-sponsors, called the status quo “just plain wrong.”

And Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), said that “if there is no place for them in our country, there is certainly no place for them in our crown jewel, Social Security.”