» OIG Reveals Social Security Underpayments to Thousands of Spouses

OIG Reveals Social Security Underpayments to Thousands of Spouses

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Hook Law Center (formerly Oast & Hook)

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) owes thousands of Americans higher benefits, amounting to millions of dollars in total.

SSA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – the agency's internal watchdog – recently conducted an internal audit that revealed failures to increase some retirees' benefits properly.

“The problem lies with some retirees' receipt of spousal benefits,” explained elder law attorney Andrew Hook. “These retirees initially claimed spousal benefits, but they later became eligible for higher benefits based on their own employment. Social Security failed to notify them of that fact.”

The OIG designated two categories of underpaid beneficiaries. First are those who, at full retirement age, claimed spousal benefits, but who are now eligible for a higher payment on their own benefits due to delayed retirement credits. Second are those who claimed their benefits before full retirement age and who were given spousal benefits even though their own employment entitled them to greater benefits at that time.

The problems have resulted from an SSA failure to apply what is known as the “deemed filing provision.” The OIG claims to be highly confident that between 22,000 and 30,000 spouses are eligible for higher retirement benefits. The estimated due total is between $132 million and $258 million.

The OIG first uncovered the underpayments in a 2008 audit. It created a notification letter and asked SSA to send it to those beneficiaries who might be affected. The agency did not dispute the findings, but claimed it lacked the funds and staff to send the letter.

In its recent follow-up audit, the OIG said that SSA owes underpaid beneficiaries both higher ongoing payments and back payments. And it pointed out that because SSA already notifies widows and widowers of the possibility of greater benefits at full retirement age and again at age 70, the agency should be able to add more beneficiaries to its process.

“If you receive spousal benefits from Social Security, or if you are turning 70 and claimed Social Security at full retirement age, you may be eligible for increased benefits,” added Hook. “If you think these circumstances may apply to you, visit your Social Security office or your elder law or estate planning attorney for assistance. You should also check your Social Security work record to make sure it is complete.”

Hook Law Center
295 Bendix Road, Suite 170
Virginia Beach, Virginia 23452-1294
Phone: 757-399-7506
Fax: 757-397-1267

SUFFOLK
5806 Harbour View Blvd.
Suite 203
Suffolk VA 23435
Phone: 757-399-7506
Fax: 757-397-1267
http://www.hooklawcenter.com/

  • Should I Transfer My House To My Kids?
    One of the most common questions we get from clients is whether they should transfer their house to their children. The answer to this question is almost always absolutely not! Many people think that transferring their house to someone else will allow them to protect their home from having to be sold in the event […]
  • Will You Outlive Your Nest Egg?
    As Generation X approaches its retirement years and the Baby Boomer generation is in the midst of theirs, this question should be on the minds of millions of Americans. The answer to the question is not quite as simple as some of the “rules of thumb” out there.  For instance, the “10% Rule” which suggests […]
  • Unexpectedly Disinherited?
    What if your mother or father assured you that you should expect some version of an inheritance after death, but the Will reveals that you have been disinherited? This scenario is unfortunately common, and it raises a number of questions: Was the will, or portions of it, forged? Was it a product of undue influence […]
  • IRS Announces Refunds and Credits for Some Veterans
    On July 11, 2018, the IRS announced in IR-2018-148 that certain veterans who received disability severance payments after January 17, 1991, and included that income on their returns, may claim a credit or refund of the overpayment. This announcement is a result of the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act that was signed by President Obama […]
  • Anxiety and Dementia
    A recent study has found that anxiety during middle age may be linked to higher rates of dementia late in life.  The study followed almost 30,000 for more than a decade and there was a clear link between anxiety mid-life and dementia later in life.  The study wasn’t a controlled study with the intent to […]

See other news sources publishing this article. BETA | Tags: , , , , ,



Get headlines from Law Firm Newswire sent right to your inbox.

* indicates required