On Valentine’s Day, the audit report from the Social Security Inspector General’s office was released – this audit was regarding internal controls about informing widows and widowers concerning their benefit options. The report found that 82% of current beneficiaries who are entitled to two benefits, were not informed of their options that would have resulted in higher benefit.
Is this alarming – YES!! Unexpected – NO!! In article after article we advise people to know their options – you have to know what you are entitled to before you go to file.
A random sample of 50 beneficiaries were used in their audit – these were the results:
- 41 were eligible for a higher monthly benefit had they delayed their benefit until age 70 – (not delaying the Survivor benefit, just their benefit)
- 34 of the 41 represented were over 70 years of age and older and SSA underpaid them a total of $485,911.
- Based on this random sample the report estimates that 11, 123 dually eligible surviving spouses would have been entitled to a higher benefit.
- The audit report estimates that SSA underpaid about $131.8 million to 9,224 beneficiaries who were 70 and older.
- It is being recommended that the agency take appropriate action for the 41 beneficiaries who were identified and determine whether it should review the remaining population who may have been underpaid.
The Social Security Administration agreed with all the report’s findings – which is a good thing. This population, for the most part, needs all the benefits they have earned and deserve. This wrong needs to be corrected.
This is one of the area’s we have seen the most errors since starting Pillars. In fact, we have our literature in many of the funeral homes across Mississippi. About three years ago we did an in-house seminar for Funeral Director’s in central Mississippi, just so they would know the RULES.
Please, please, don’t let your loved ones make this mistake – the comment “one of the first things you need to do if file for your Survivor Benefit” is not good advice! The first thing you need to do is have a professional review your individual situation and make a prudent recommendation based on all the Rules and Regulations. Then when your loved one does decide to file, they have researched all options and the above mistake will not be their mistake. They need to be prepared to go to the SS office and tell them what they are filing for.
Pillars LLC is in the Corinth, MS area but service all 50 states. Roy and Diane are both National Social Security Advisors and Roy is a former CPA of over 40 years. You may contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, on their website at www.pillarsllc.com or call at 601-954-0699. KNOW before you GO!!