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B’nai B’rith International has issued the following statement:

B’nai B’rith International is pleased to learn Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.) have introduced the Nazi Social Security Benefits Termination Act (H.R.5706) designed to close a legal loophole that has allowed many suspected Nazi war criminals to collect Social Security payments, despite leaving the country and renouncing their citizenship. B’nai B’rith supports changing the law to close this loophole and deny Social Security to such individuals.

Sen. Robert Casey, Jr. (D-Pa.), Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-N.Y.) also introduced a companion bill in the Senate (S.2920). Furthermore, we understand another bill is expected to be introduced by the House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over Social Security.

The Associated Press reported last month that suspected Nazis collected—and continue to collect—Social Security checks because of the specific process through which they were removed from the country. Current U.S. law, unfortunately, strips benefits only from those suspected war criminals who are deported—not from those who abandon their U.S. citizenship and leave the country before the deportation process concludes. 

In order to expedite the process of ridding this country of those Nazi criminals living in our midst, individuals under investigation by the Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section, a unit within the Justice Department formerly referred to as the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), were, at times, permitted to renounce their citizenship and leave the country.

We look forward to seeing and discussing all approaches to ending these payments while respecting the integrity of the Social Security system. 

B’nai B’rith encourages all involved in addressing this problem to continue to work with the speed, thoughtfulness and care required when making any adjustment to the rules surrounding an earned benefit system.