U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan co-sponsors ‘No Social Security for Nazis’ Act

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Congressman Vern Buchanan is co-sponsoring a bill to end what he calls an “obscene giveaway” — Social Security benefits to a handful of surviving Nazi war criminals.

“No Social Security for Hitler’s henchmen,” said Buchanan, a Sarasota Republican. “At a time when our own war heroes are denied proper health care, it’s obscene that our government is rewarding former Nazis with Social Security benefits.”

H.R. 5739, called the No Social Security for Nazis Act, is a bipartisan response to a two-year Associated Press investigation that discovered several ex-Nazis still currently collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars in Social Security benefits, although they left the U.S. decades ago and are now living in Europe.

In a loophole in current law, former death camp guards and SS officers collect more than $1.5 million, drawing up to $1,500 a month in Social Security. The U.S. government allowed the alleged war criminals to continue collecting benefits if they left the country to face tribunals abroad. Since 1979, a minimum of 38 of the 66 suspects who left the country kept their Social Security benefits.

According to the AP investigation, some old German soldiers who are still receiving American retirement benefits include:

  • Armed SS troops who guarded the Nazi network of death camps.
  • An SS guard who took part in the brutal liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto in Nazi-occupied Poland.
  • A Nazi collaborator who engineered the arrest and execution of thousands of Jews in Poland.
  • A German rocket scientist accused of using slave labor to build the V-2 rocket that pummeled London. He later won NASA’s highest honor for helping to put a man on the moon.

Buchanan calls for ending all public benefits to those “denaturalized due to participation in Nazi persecutions or who voluntarily renounced their citizenship as part of a settlement with the Attorney General.”  The bill also eliminates Nazi spouse benefits.

Congressman Sam Johnson, a former Vietnam POW, introduced H.R. 5739 in the U.S. House last night as chief sponsor.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.