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/

  • New Tax Legislation Introduced – What to Expect
    <p>Earlier this year we reported President Biden’s tax plan which included items such as raising the corporate tax rate, raising the highest marginal income tax rate, eliminating the step-up in basis at a taxpayer’s death and revising the estate tax scheme to be similar to the capital gains tax we are currently familiar with. These [...]</p>
    <p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/09/17/new-tax-legislation-introduced-what-to-expect/">Read More...</a></p>
    <p>The post <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/09/17/new-tax-legislation-introduced-what-to-expect/" target="_blank">New Tax Legislation Introduced - What to Expect</a> first appeared on <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/" target="_blank">Hook Law Center</a>.</p>
  • Can a nursing home sue an agent under a power of attorney for unpaid bills?
    <p>If you are the agent under a power of attorney for a parent or loved one, you may often sign documents on their behalf. However, it is important to be careful what you sign – and how you sign it. If you are the agent under a power of attorney for someone who is moving [...]</p>
    <p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/09/09/nursing-home-sue-for-unpaid-bills/">Read More...</a></p>
    <p>The post <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/09/09/nursing-home-sue-for-unpaid-bills/" target="_blank">Can a nursing home sue an agent under a power of attorney for unpaid bills?</a> first appeared on <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/" target="_blank">Hook Law Center</a>.</p>
  • Understanding the Caretaker Child Exception
    <p>Many of our clients have heard of the “five-year lookback” but few understand what it actually means. In essence, since Medicaid is a payer of last resort, the government wants to ensure that people are not divesting themselves of assets with the purpose of impoverishing themselves to establish Medicaid eligibility for long-term care services. By [...]</p>
    <p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/09/03/understanding-the-caretaker-child-exception/">Read More...</a></p>
    <p>The post <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/09/03/understanding-the-caretaker-child-exception/" target="_blank">Understanding the Caretaker Child Exception</a> first appeared on <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/" target="_blank">Hook Law Center</a>.</p>
  • Charitable and Tax Planning with Charitable Lead Trusts
    <p>A Charitable Lead Trust (“CLT”) is tax beneficial way to achieve a donor’s philanthropic goals and pass assets to heirs at a reduced transfer tax rate. A CLT is a powerful tool for donors who anticipate high estate and gift taxes. Conceptually, when the trust is created, the donor designates a charitable beneficiary(ies). The donor [...]</p>
    <p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/08/30/charitable-and-tax-planning-with-charitable-lead-trusts/">Read More...</a></p>
    <p>The post <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/08/30/charitable-and-tax-planning-with-charitable-lead-trusts/" target="_blank">Charitable and Tax Planning with Charitable Lead Trusts</a> first appeared on <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/" target="_blank">Hook Law Center</a>.</p>
  • The Dangers of Holographic (Handwritten) Wills
    <p>There are two types of wills: (1) holographic and (2) non-holographic. Non-holographic – or typed, witnessed and attested wills – are the most common and the type that people are most familiar with. A holographic will is a will written entirely in the handwriting of the testator and signed by that individual. It does not [...]</p>
    <p><a class="btn btn-secondary bravehart-read-more-link" href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/08/19/the-dangers-of-holographic-handwritten-wills/">Read More...</a></p>
    <p>The post <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/2021/08/19/the-dangers-of-holographic-handwritten-wills/" target="_blank">The Dangers of Holographic (Handwritten) Wills</a> first appeared on <a href="https://hooklawcenter.com/" target="_blank">Hook Law Center</a>.</p>

Tags: , , , , ,



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

* indicates required