Does this Impact YOU?
Benefits Payable to Widow(er)s Subject to Government Pension Offset Had They Delayed Their Application
Inspector General (OIG) report A-09-19-50791, “Benefits Payable to Widow(er)s Subject to Government Pension Offset Had They Delayed Their Application (osc.gov)” details how Social Security (SSA) incorrectly processed Survivor (“Widow(er)s”) claims from claimants who were less than their Full Retirement Age and Fully Government Pension Offset. Had the claimants been advised to delay their filing, some would have eventually qualified for cash benefits. OIG estimates that some 3500+ widows lost out on $55 million in benefits. OIG recommended that SSA take appropriate action to notify the beneficiaries of their option to reapply for benefits. For more information, please click on this link: https://www.ssa.gov/policy/ or call 1-800-772-1213. If you have been impacted, you should have received a letter from the Social Security Administration.
Please NOTE: OIG did not realize it but some claimants with living spouses are affected as well. Victims with living spouses will not be getting any notification.
A typical victim:
- Worked at a job where they did NOT pay Social Security tax
- Receives a pension from that “non-covered” employment
- Does NOT qualify for Social Security Retirement Benefits on their own earnings
- Applied for widow(er)’s (or SPOUSE) benefits before Full Retirement Age
- Receives little or nothing in spouse or widow(er)’s benefits because of Government Pension Offset (GPO)
SSA agreed to address problem but only granting six months of retroactivity. Some folks have been left out of many years’ worth of benefits, but they’re only going to get paid for six months.
What can potential victims do?
You can wait for the Social Security Administration to send you a letter, file and receive six months of retroactive payments no matter how many years of benefits you have lost;
You can print the referenced letter in the document, SSA & GPO & Widows and Widowers, take it to any Social Security field office, and request a determination as to whether you have been impacted. If so, you should immediately re-file for your spouse or widow(er)’s benefits. Then, if SSA isn’t willing to pay back your Full Retirement Month, and instead grants only 6 months retroactivity, you could contact the SSA whistleblower directly:
Links to other articles and facts
SSA & GPO & Widows and Widowers.pdf
Impact of reduction for claiming survivors benefits before FRA
Claiming Social Security Benefits – Early or Late
Some Seniors are Being Shortchanged
Benefits Payable to Widow(er)s Pension Offset