Title II Spousal or Widow(er) Beneficiaries Whose Unreported Marriages Caused Improper Title XVI Payments

Date: 
Friday, July 22, 2016
Report Number: 
A-07-16-50018
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

We issued this report to identify Title II spousal or widow(er) beneficiaries who received improper Title XVI payments because they did not report their marriages to the Social Security Administration (SSA).

When determining individuals’ Title XVI payment eligibility and amounts, SSA evaluates the income and resources of the individuals and their spouses as well as the spouses’ Title XVI eligibility. Therefore, SSA requires that recipients report any changes in their marital status.

Applicants for Title II spousal or widow(er) benefits are required to provide proof of marriage to, and/or divorce from, the workers. Further, SSA policy requires that employees review any previous Title II or XVI claims for relevant information and refer any discrepancies to the Office of the Inspector General before it processes the Title II claim.

We identified 122,926 Title II spousal or widow(er) beneficiaries who received Title XVI payments as single individuals on or after January 1, 2000. However, these beneficiaries also reported that they were married on or after January 1, 2000 when they filed for Title II spousal or widow(er) benefits.