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Legislation Pending to Help Holocaust Survivors Qualify for Social Security

Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress to help Holocaust survivors qualify for Social Security benefits they are unable to receive now because the records of their naturalization as U.S. citizens contain errors with respect to their birth dates.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. William Hughes (D.NJ) and Sen. Richard Schweiker (R.Pa.). Schweiker pointed out that “women prisoners in Nazi camps above the age of 30 were often put to death and many prisoners understated their ages to avoid execution.”

He said that after World War 11 “250,000 concentration camp survivors were admitted into our country and up to 10,000 may have understand their true ages to authorities. “Schweiker explained that since those who survived were fearful that contradictory concentration camp records would jeopardize their chances to enter the U.S. and that they would be sent to hostile countries for relocation, liberated women prisoners repeated their misstatements to the naturalization authorities.

“After 35 years of freedom, their true ages (of men and women) exceed 65, yet official records list ages below this figure. Social Security benefits are now denied them because of this anomaly,” Schweiker said. He said the proposed legislation would enable the Attorney General to correct documents “when conclusive evidence is presented” that the age of survivors living in the U.S. is erroneous and “the errors can be traced back to fears of persecution if admission to the U.S. were denied.”

Rep. Henry Waxman (D. Calif.), a cosponsor of the legislation in the House, said the correction of age errors would apply only to those survivors who entered the U.S. between Dec. 22, 1945 and Nov. 1, 1954.

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