Making a decision as to when to start claiming Social Security benefits can be fraught with risks.
And there's one more danger many retirees may not be aware of: getting botched advice from the Social Security Administration.
A recent report from the agency's Office of the Inspector General estimates that 9,224 widow and widower beneficiaries age 70 and above were underpaid approximately $131.8 million.
The report also projects that Social Security will underpay 1,899 beneficiaries by about $9.8 million annually when they turn 70.
Those estimates are based on a random sample of 50 beneficiaries that led the office to conclude that 11,123 recipients could be eligible for a larger monthly benefit.
The research found that claimants were not informed that they had the ability to take widow or widower's benefits while delaying their own retirement benefits, which would allow those checks to increase.
"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," the inspector general's report states.
"We also found that SSA did not have controls in place to alert its employees when they should inform widow[er]s of their option to delay their applications for retirement benefits."
The Social Security Administration said it is committed to improving its procedures in a written response to the report.
"We are currently developing our action plan that responds to the recommendations," a Social Security Administration spokeswoman said.
Those who feel they could have been affected should bring it up with the Social Security Administration, said John Piershale, wealth advisor at Piershale Financial in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
"If you feel like something has gone wrong, when you're dealing with people in business, it's always best to check to see if there's any recourse than to not do anything at all," Piershale said.