OIG Reveals Social Security Underpayments to Thousands of Spouses | Law Firm Newswire

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/

  • Elder Law Related Updates in 2020
    Every July, various amendments to the Virginia Code go into effect. This year, several notable changes to the law impact various areas of elder law, a summary of which are as follows: The state police must develop the Virginia Missing Child with Autism Alert Program. Local law enforcement may participate in the state program, or [...]<p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="http://www.hooklawcenter.com/2020/07/10/elder-law-related-updates-in-2020/">Read More...</a></p>
  • The Importance of Updating Beneficiary Designations
    Life is pretty hectic. Between work, personal commitments and family, it’s no surprise that we sometimes let important things slide from time to time. We know we need to get to them, but the days get away from us and most of the time it seems like these little things can just as easily wait [...]<p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="http://www.hooklawcenter.com/2020/07/06/the-importance-of-updating-beneficiary-designations/">Read More...</a></p>
  • Stimulus Payments Belong to Recipient, Not Nursing Homes or Care Facilities
    Following concerns that businesses may be taking advantage of those who received an economic impact payment, the Internal Revenue Service recently notified nursing home and other care facilities that the recent stimulus payments received by many Americans generally belong to the recipients, not the organizations providing the care. This means that these payments do not [...]<p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="http://www.hooklawcenter.com/2020/06/26/stimulus-payments-belong-to-recipient-not-nursing-homes-or-care-facilities/">Read More...</a></p>
  • Planning to Transition a Small or Family-Owned Business
    Estate planning often involves the transition of a small or family-owned business to the next generation. Despite best plans and practices by estate planners and business coaches, this transition often fails, leaving dissatisfied families and employees in the wake of the transition. Unfortunately for estate planning attorneys, the failure of business transition does not lie [...]<p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="http://www.hooklawcenter.com/2020/06/19/planning-to-transition-a-small-or-family-owned-business/">Read More...</a></p>
  • Beware of COVID-19 Scams
    Criminally-minded individuals will choose to take advantage of almost any situation if they perceive a possible benefit to them.  Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic is no exception.  As of June 4, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission estimated that coronavirus-related scams have cost Americans $46.2 million.  There are several scams related to the COVID-19 crisis that everyone [...]<p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="http://www.hooklawcenter.com/2020/06/15/beware-of-covid-19-scams/">Read More...</a></p>

Tags: , , , , ,



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

* indicates required