Ex-Nazis Awarded Millions of Dollars in American Social Security.

Adolph Hitler and Nazi marching in cartoon illustration by Willard Mullin


Grassley, Hatch Press Social Security Administration, Justice Department

on Benefits for Suspected Nazis

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Orrin Hatch are seeking details from the Social Security Administration and the Justice Department on Social Security benefits given to suspected ex-Nazis.  It’s unclear why the federal government allowed millions of dollars to flow to these individuals, including those who have left the country. Record-keeping discrepancies have exacerbated uncertainty and confusion over U.S. government practice and policy on allowing ex-Nazis to retain their Social Security benefits.

“We have introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to close the Social Security loophole in order to prevent this practice in the future and hope that it will become law soon,” Grassley and Hatch wrote in letters to each agency.  “However, there remain questions about DOJ’s actions and what will be done in current cases if the law is not passed before they are resolved.”

Grassley and Hatch asked for statistics in areas including the total number of Nazi suspects who received Social Security benefits after leaving the United States, how many suspected Nazis currently receive Social Security benefits and live outside the country, information on the potential outcome of certain identified cases, and details of interaction between the Social Security Administration and the Justice Department on the issue.

Hatch is the sponsor and Grassley is an original cosponsor of bipartisan, bicameral legislation to terminate Social Security benefits for Nazi persecutors who receive them because of a loophole in current law.  The practice appeared to be little-known in recent years until an Associated Press report exposed the practice, leading to scrutiny from Congress and public outcry.

Another Cost of Living Raise for Social Security Recipients? Don’t Hold Your Breath.

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Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley recently met with seniors at the Hollywood Senior Center and announced that he will be introducing legislation in the Senate that will increase Social Security benefits for seniors by changing the cost of living adjustment (COLA) formula to keep up with inflation.  Since seniors spend more of their income on healthcare, housing and heating fuel than the average household, the current formula fails to keep up with the actual costs seniors face.  The Merkley bill would provide a fair benefit to seniors.

“It’s time that we stop talking about reducing Social Security benefits and instead focus on giving our seniors a raise,” said Merkley. “I hear too many stories in Oregon about seniors who are struggling to stay afloat on their Social Security benefits and have to make a choice between medication and heating their home. It is unacceptable to have an inflation formula that steadily erodes the purchasing power of Social Security benefits.  Seniors deserve better.”

Senator Merkley sees Social Security and Medicare as a covenant with seniors. People work their whole lives with the understanding and expectation that they can rely on these programs when they retire. He has been a strong critic of a proposal circulating in Washington, DC to reduce the Social Security COLA for seniors by moving to a new formula called chained CPI.  For more than half of our seniors, Social Security constitutes a majority of their income. For a third, it is nearly 90 percent of their income.

The legislation announced by Merkley would move the Social Security COLA to the Consumer Price Index-Elderly (CPI-E) formula, which is designed to account for the unique spending patterns of seniors.

Currently the Social Security COLA is calculated by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) formula. Senator Merkley’s legislation would change the way that the Social Security COLA is calculated by replacing the CPI-W with the CPI-E formula.

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Social Security Admin Still Trying to Collect from Deadbeats that are Really DEAD!

Don't Tell Social Security, but you can't squeeze blood out of turnip.
Don’t Tell Social Security, but you can’t squeeze blood out of turnip.

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the announcement from the Social Security Administration that it will suspend debt collection of payments more than 10 years old.  The announcement came after The Washington Post reported on agency debt collection efforts on survivor benefits paid to now-deceased beneficiaries.  Just before the Social Security Administration’s announcement, Grassley sent letters to the Social Security Administration and the Treasury Department, seeking information on how the agencies interpreted their authority to pursue the old debts as they have.

“Payment beneficiaries have to be accountable for overpayments from the government, but the government has to be reasonable and use common sense.    Is it fair and reasonable to pursue debts from the surviving children for payments to the parents, no matter how long ago any overpayment occurred?   The agency is right to revisit that point.   However, it shouldn’t take embarrassing media coverage and lawsuits for this step to take place.  Agencies should be able to apply common sense and fairness without a public firestorm.  And Congress needs to be careful about legislating one line in an unrelated bill that an agency then develops into something possibly beyond what Congress intended.  The statute of limitations language didn’t give the agency permission to collect debts where the debtor is deceased.   It’s not clear where that authority came in.  There’s a difference between collecting decades-old debt from the debtors and decades-old debt from their kids.  I still expect responses to my letters.”

Study in Red

Sen. Chaffetz Acts To Save Social Security.

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Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) has announced his proposals for Social Security reform. With these

proposals, Social Security achieves permanent annual balance by 2051, achieves actuarial balance for

the next 75 years, and avoids tax increases and trust fund insolvency. Future retirees, including today’s

very young workers, will have increased certainty regarding their retirement.

“There is no excuse for allowing Social Security to become insolvent,” said Chaffetz. “The program is

unsustainable in its current form. However, this problem is completely within our power to resolve –

without tax increases and while protecting retirees. This series of simple steps will make the program

solvent and allow younger generations to more accurately anticipate their own retirement needs.”

Social Security is the largest single item in the federal budget. In fiscal year 2011, the federal

government spent $730 billion on Social Security, or 20% of the total $3.6 trillion1

federal budget.

Over the next 75 years, Social Security’s unfunded liability is $6.5 trillion.2

The proposals set out by

Rep. Chaffetz will improve Social Security’s balance over the next 75 years by $7.5 trillion in 2011

present value dollars.3

“It’s gratifying to see Congressman Chaffetz standing up and offering a substantive proposal that is fair

to Social Security recipients and does not increase the burden on taxpayers,” said Utah State Senator

Dan Liljenquist. “Reality is not negotiable, yet we have ignored the Social Security solvency problem

for far too long,” said Liljenquist, who has gained national recognition for his pension and Medicaid

reforms to address fiscal issues threatening to bankrupt the state.

“Congressman Chaffetz deserves immense credit for putting a specific Social Security reform plan on

the table,” said Maya MacGuineas, President of Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “We

applaud his courage in doing so and hope that those who don’t endorse his approach put forth their

own ideas rather than attacking his, in order to begin a true national dialogue on how to make the

necessary fixes to this important program.”