Accrued Benefits Payable on Behalf of Deceased Beneficiaries

Date: 
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Report Number: 
A-09-14-14034
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

According to SSA policy, an underpayment is any monthly benefit amount due a beneficiary that SSA has not paid. Underpayments include accrued monthly benefits SSA has not paid and uncashed checks representing correct payments to deceased beneficiaries.

When underpaid beneficiaries are deceased, SSA should pay the underpayment to a surviving spouse, a child, a parent, or the legal representative of the decedent’s estate. Before paying an underpayment, SSA must attempt to locate and determine the proper recipient.

We identified 5,375 deceased Title II beneficiaries who, according to the Master Beneficiary Record (MBR), had accrued unpaid benefits dating as far back as January 1984 that may have been payable to surviving beneficiaries in current pay status on the deceased beneficiaries’ record.

The objective of this report was to determine whether SSA took appropriate actions to pay accrued benefits on behalf of deceased beneficiaries.