President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama Reuters

President Barack Obama on Thursday signed into law a measure that bars suspected Nazi war criminals from receiving Social Security, The Associated Press (AP) reports.

The bill was unanimously approved two weeks ago by the House of Representatives and closes legal loopholes that have allowed some World War II-era Nazis to collect government benefits even after many other Nazis who escaped to the United States were deported or prosecuted.

The loophole was exposed by an AP investigation, which found that dozens of former Nazis collected millions of dollars in retirement benefits after being forced to leave the United States.

Recipients ranged from the SS guards who patrolled the Third Reich's network of camps where millions of Jews died to a rocket scientist who helped develop the V-2 rocket that Nazi Germany used to attack London.

The speed with which the legislation moved underscored the outrage AP's findings triggered among lawmakers in Congress — and American taxpayers.

The bill signed into law by Obama terminates Social Security payments for individuals stripped of their American citizenships due to their participation in Nazi persecutions during World War II. U.S. law previously mandated a higher threshold — a final order of deportation — before a person's Social Security benefits could be terminated.

By lowering the threshold to loss of citizenship, a step known as denaturalization, the bill effectively shuts a loophole that for years had allowed suspected Nazis to continue receiving benefits even after being expelled from the U.S. for their roles in Third Reich's atrocities.

The White House responded to the AP revelation by saying it was of the position that former Nazis should not be collecting Social Security benefits.

Join our official WhatsApp group