The Social Security Administration has found that the agency paid out $20.2 million in benefits to more than 130 suspected Nazi war criminals, former SS guards, and others who participated in the Third Reich, the Associated Press reports.

The payments occurred between February 1962 and January of this year, when the No Social Security for Nazis Act became law. By some estimates, there were as many as 10,000 Nazis hiding in the United States after World War II.

Last year, the AP requested that the Social Security Administration provide figures for how many Nazi suspects received benefits and how much was paid to them. The administration refused the request.

At the time, the AP found that the Justice Department had persuaded some people suspected of being Nazis to leave the country in exchange for Social Security benefits. (The Justice Department denied this.)

The forthcoming report, scheduled for public release this week, was triggered by that investigation, when Representative Carolyn Maloney requested that the Social Security Administration’s inspector general look into the scope of the payments.

From the AP:

The IG’s report said $5.6 million was paid to 38 former Nazis before they were deported. Ninety five Nazi suspects who were not deported but were alleged or found to have participated in the Nazi persecution received $14.5 million in benefits, according to the report.

The IG criticized the Social Security Administration for improperly paying four beneficiaries $15,658 because it did not suspend the benefits in time.

The report also said the Social Security Administration “properly stopped payment” to the four beneficiaries when the new law banning benefits to Nazi suspects went into effect. The agency did, however, continue payments to one suspect because he was not subject to the law.

“We must continue working to remember the tragedy of the Holocaust and hold those responsible accountable,” Maloney said in a statement on Saturday. “One way to do that is by providing as much information to the public as possible. This report hopefully provides some clarity.”

Photo credit: AP Images. Contact the author of this post: