Audit Finds Social Security Underpaying Widows/Widowers

Audit Finds Social Security Underpaying Widows/Widowers

82% of widows and widowers entitled to spousal benefits are being underpaid, according to a newly released audit from the Office of the Inspector General. The report says the problem is the Social Security Administration did not inform them they can delay their retirement benefits up to age 70, while still collecting survivor benefits.

According to the audit, the SSA did not have system controls in place to alert its employees when they should tell widows or widowers about delaying retirement benefits.

The audit recommends the SSA take several steps to take care of the issue, including reminding employees to talk to widows and widowers about delaying their applications for retirement benefits and determine if it should develop additional controls to ensure it informs widows and widowers of the option to delay. The SSA has agreed with the recommendations.

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