Mar 9, 2018

Social Security Underpaying Some Widowed Spouses

In my July 2017 post I addressed why it is important to educate yourself about Social Security benefits, and to not rely solely on advice from the agency. A recent report from the Inspector General provides fresh support for this notion.

The Inspector General's audit revealed that Social Security staff often fail to inform widowed spouses that they can claim survivor benefits yet still delay taking their own benefits until age 70. As a result, the audit estimates that 82% of widowed spouses entitled to receive benefits are being underpaid. If you can delay taking benefits, the rewards can be substantial: According to the Social Social Security Administration, you will get 132% of your monthly benefit if you wait until age age 70 to collect.

The report states, in part: “We did not find any evidence SSA had informed claimants of the option to delay their retirement application when they applied for benefits, as required. We also found that SSA did not have systems controls in place to alert its employees when they should inform [widows] of their option to delay their applications for retirement benefits.”

You can read the original report from the Inspector General  here. Some helpful resources to learn about Social Security benefits are:

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