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Maximum Family Social Security Benefit

Spousal Benefit Eligibility In Tallahassee

Social Security Family Maximum

You may be able to receive SSDI spousal benefits if:

Your Spouse Is Over 62 Years of Age

Individuals who begin to receive disability benefits when their spouse is 62-years-old or older may be able to continue to receive monthly benefits, as long as they are not eligible for a higher benefit amount themselves.

In instances where an individuals spouse begins to collect benefits before they reach the age of retirement, the early retirement penalty will reduce the value of the benefit they can receive, except in cases where that individual is caring for a child under 16.

Your Spouse Is Caring for a Minor

Spouses of individuals on SSDI caring for a child under 16-years-old may continue to receive benefits. Child benefits continue until a child turns 18, though a spouse may continue to receive benefits even after a child turns 16 if they are eligible for retirement or become a widow/widower.

The SSA may deduct spousal benefits for individuals who work while taking care of a child. Individuals who make a certain amount of money while taking care of a child may not be eligible for any SSDI benefits.

Your Spouse Is Caring for a Disabled Minor

Spouses of individuals receiving SSDI may continue to collect benefits if they are caring for a disabled child, even if that child is over 16.

In cases where a couple goes through a divorce and one spouse is receiving SSDI benefits, the ex-spouse may still be eligible to receive SSDI benefits.

Your ex-spouse may quality for SSDI benefits if:

Whats The Maximum Family Social Security Benefit

Family members of someone who gets benefits from Social Security may be able to claim their own monthly checks based on that persons earnings record. But the government limits the amount of benefits that can be paid out to a family on one earnings record. This cap is the maximum family Social Security benefit, and its typically 150% to 180% percent of the benefit that the primary beneficiary is entitled to at full retirement age. Social security payments are often a cornerstone of retirement income for families and individuals alike. If youre not sure how social security fits into your retirement plans, it may be a good idea to speak with a financial advisor. Check out SmartAssets free advisor matching tool today.

Maximum Family Benefit Basics

The maximum family benefit allowed by Social Security is different from the maximum individual benefit. The maximum family benefit only affects benefits paid to other eligible family members. These may include spouses, minor children, disabled adult children and dependent parents.

The Social Security Administration uses a complicated formula to set the precise limit a family can receive. You can get a quick estimate of your family maximum benefit by checking your My Social Security account at SSA.gov. If you dont have a My Social Security Account, it may be a good idea to open one.

Social Security Auxiliary Benefits

How Social Security Adjusts Family Benefits

Maximum Family Benefit Exceptions

Bottom Line

Social Security Family Maximum Benefits: The Complete Guide

On paper, the Social Security system has a generous payment to beneficiaries of someone who retires, dies, or becomes disabled. But what catches many people by surprise is that theres a limit to these payments.

The Social Security family maximumbenefits rule may stop you from getting the full amount you might expect.

This article takes a very deep dive intothe issue to explain both the common, well-known rules around the SocialSecurity family maximum benefits and the more obscure rules that causebenefits to be capped to a range of 150%-188% of a retired, deceased ordisabled individuals full retirement age benefit.

Well also goover the calculation, and teach you how to determine what kinds of benefits to expectin your own situation.

To kick things off, lets take a quick look at the benefits available to your family members if you retired, died, or experience a disability. These benefits paid to your family are in addition to the benefit which you receive and are available to an eligible spouse and children.

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Understanding The Family Maximum Social Security Benefit

Social Security is an important part of retirement planning both for the parents and the individual with a disability. Family members can claim benefits tied to the primary household earner once he or she begins receiving Social Security retirement benefits however, there are limits how much the family in total can collect. This article discusses the family maximum benefit, how it works, and how to plan for these limits in retirement.

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Social Security Widow Benefits

You also need to be your own advocate. Different Social Security employees may give you different answers, according to Kotlikoff. By doing your research, you can advocate for the money for which you are eligible.

It’s also important to apply for those benefits on time so you don’t miss out on any money due to you, he said.

Have you experienced delays when contacting the Social Security Administration about your retirement benefits? If you would be willing to share your experience for a future article, email lorie.konish@nbcuni.com.

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What Are The Ssa Family Maximum Rules

SSA ‘s family maximum rules are complex and affect beneficiaries in different ways, depending on their earnings levels and benefit types. In particular, the rules that apply to disability beneficiary families differ significantly from those that apply to retirement and survivor beneficiary families.

Who Earns Social Security’s Maximum Benefit

There are three criteria you need to meet in order to earn Social Security’s maximum benefit in 2023. First, you need to work for at least 35 years before claiming. This is because the Social Security Administration bases your benefit on your average monthly earnings from your 35 highest-earning years, adjusted for inflation.

If you apply before you’ve worked this long, you’ll have zero-income years factored into your calculation. Even one of these will automatically put the maximum monthly benefit beyond your reach.

Second, you have to pay Social Security payroll taxes on the maximum taxable income in your 35 highest-earning years. Not everyone knows this, but the government doesn’t collect Social Security taxes on all income. In 2022, only the first $147,000 is subject to these taxes, and in 2023, that number will rise to $160,200. But in prior years, it was lower.

This is why most people aren’t able to claim the top benefit. Few people manage to pull in that much money throughout their careers, let alone do it in 35 separate years.

The final step to claim the maximum benefit is to delay benefits until 70. While it’s possible to claim checks as early as 62, many don’t realize that doing so shrinks your benefit. Your checks increase a little for every month you delay benefits until you reach the maximum benefit at 70.

Those lucky few who meet all three criteria in 2023 will bring home $4,555 monthly checks. That adds up to an annual benefit of $54,660.

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Rules For Retirement And Survivor Benefits

The family maximum formula for Old-Age and Survivors Insurance benefits is based on a beneficiary’s primary insurance amount . The PIA is a beneficiary’s basic Social Security benefit amount before adjustments for retirement age, earnings, and other factors.1 For a worker who reaches age 62 or dies in 2015 , SSA calculates the family maximum using the following formula:

150 percent of the first $1,056 of the worker’s PIAplus

272 percent of the worker’s PIA over $1,056 through $1,524 plus

134 percent of the worker’s PIA over $1,524 through $1,987 plus

175 percent of the worker’s PIA over $1,987.

Ultimately, this formula yields a maximum for each family that is between 150 percent and 188 percent of the worker’s basic Social Security benefit, or PIA.2 The final amount is rounded to the next lowest ten cents. The dollar amounts in the family maximum formula increase each year according to average wage growth.3

Planning Around The Family Maximum

The Social Security Family Maximum

Since special needs families are more likely to be impacted by the family maximum benefit, the key planning tool is to know in advance what the estimated Social Security benefits are for each household member and then determine if the family maximum applies. The PIA for both spouses and individual with a disability can be estimated from the Social Security website.

After the PIAs are known, the family maximum can be calculated. If the combined SS benefit of each household member is less than the family maximum benefit, no penalty is applied. If the total is greater, than the amount of the penalty can be determined, and the adjusted Social Security benefits can be estimated for each beneficiary.

The Social Security benefit maximum only applies in situations where two or more beneficiaries are drawing benefits off the primary earners benefit. In many instances, special needs families will have two or more beneficiaries that could be receiving SS benefits from the primary earners benefit. These families should plan by estimating what the likely Social Security benefits are for each person to determine if the family maximum applies.


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Eligible Family Members Include:

  • Ex-spouses, if the marriage lasted for at least 10 years and they have not remarried
  • Children under 18, or up to 19 if still enrolled in high school
  • Children of any age who were disabled before 22 — that is, not earning more than $1,260 per month in 2020, having a medical condition that results in severe functional limitations and that is expected to last 12 months or longer or result in death

Spouses and ex-spouses must be at least 62 in order to claim benefits, and spouses and children must wait for the worker to begin claiming benefits themselves before they can claim family benefits on their record.

Beneficiariescan Receive Up To A Certainpercentage: Where The Social Security Family Maximum Kicks In

With these benefit amounts in mind, andwithout knowing about the existence of the Social Security family maximum, itwould be easy to grossly overestimate the amount of benefits your familymembers could receive.

For example, say you have a spouse who is40. Together, you have three children under the age of 16. If you died, do youknow how much would they collect?

Based on the information above, we knowthat your spouse would be eligible for a child in care benefit since they carefor your children who are under the age of 16. This would be equal to 75% ofyour full retirement age benefit. Each of your three children would also beeligible for a childrens benefit of 75%.

So does this mean that there is a totalfamily benefit of 300% of your full retirement age benefit?

75% Spouse75% Child 3= 300% total benefit to family?

Unfortunately, no. You cant just add upthe individual benefit amounts to see what the total will be. This is where theSocial Security family maximum comes in to limit the total benefit paid fromone individuals benefit to a range of 150% to 188% of your full retirement agebenefit.

Once the family max has been determined, thebenefits to your beneficiaries are paid proportionately to each person.

If one of the beneficiaries no longerqualifies, because of age or other factors, the amount that was being paid tothem will be added to the benefit of the remaining beneficiaries as long as thetotal doesnt exceed the Social Security family maximum amount.

Read Also: What Happens To Unused Social Security Benefits

How The Parisi Case Affects Benefits

Social Security’s dual entitlement rule stipulates that if a person is eligible for both a worker benefit and an auxiliary benefit, the auxiliary benefit is reduced or not paid at all. In those cases, the Parisi case established that any potential but unpaid auxiliary benefit is not included in the family maximum calculation. The illustration in Table A-1 shows how the Parisi rules work for a person whose auxiliary benefit is not payable because his or her worker benefit is higher. The table uses the same hypothetical disabled-worker beneficiary family as that illustrated in Table 2, but assumes that the spouse’s worker benefit is $1,000greater than his or her potential auxiliary benefit of $600.


When Are Children Eligible For Social Security Benefits

Maximum Security: Maximum Social Security Monthly Payment

A child may be eligible for Social Security benefits when at least one parent qualifies for Social Security retirement, disability, or death benefits. Children receive these benefits based on their parent’s work records. In 2021, the Social Security Administration provided an average of $2.8 billion in benefits to 4 million children each month.

Children who may get Social Security benefits can also include:

  • Adopted children
  • Financially dependent grandchildren

Children of a retired or disabled parent or grandparent may receive up to one-half of the parent’s full benefit amount. When a parent who worked long enough to meet the SSA’s criteria dies, their child may receive up to 75 percent of the deceased parents survivor benefits.

Local Elder Law Attorneys in Your City

City, State

These benefits may be granted to children until age 18. However, if a child is still in elementary or high school, the child may continue to get benefits until he or she either graduates high school or else reaches the age of 19 years and 2 months old. Children who became severely disabled before turning 22 may continue acquiring benefits as adults. In most cases, a child with a disability must be unmarried to receive benefits.

The maximum family payment

Other SSA Programs

Applying for Social Security benefits

Parents and guardians may apply for Social Security benefits for their children. To apply, you may need:

Visit ssa.gov to learn more.

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Family Members Eligible For Social Security Benefits

The following family members may be eligible for benefits:

  • A spouse who is caring for a child of the disabled worker who is under the age of sixteen, or for a disabled child of any age, will be eligible for benefits at any age.
  • A spouse is eligible for benefits based on the other spouse’s earnings record if he or she is at least 62 years old or older.
  • An ex-spouse may be entitled to benefits on the former spouse’s earnings record if the marriage lasted at least ten years prior to the divorce, the applicant is at least 62 years old, unmarried, and not eligible for a higher payment based on his own earnings record.
  • A biological child or adopted child or stepchild of a disabled worker may be eligible for benefits based on the parent’s earnings record if unmarried and under age 18 .
  • A parent who is 62 years old or older, unmarried, and financially dependent on the disabled worker, if the worker has passed away.

For more information on eligibility, see our article Dependent and Spouse Benefits Under Social Security Disability.

You could be eligible for up to $3,345 per month In SSDI Benefits

Replies To Understanding The Family Maximum Social Security Benefit

  • JohnJuly 15, 2022

    Hello,I am trying to find out if the COLA increase is applied to the maximum family benefit. Or is it only applied to a persons benefit and the family maximum is still capped based on the formula using that persons benefit at FRA. This would in effect, result in no real increase in monthly benefits received. For example, if the family maximum benefit received is $5000 per month and the COLA is 10%, would the monthly benefit then be $5500?

  • BruceAugust 3, 2022

    In the article for max SS family benefits the scenario is bread winner, spouse and ADULT disabled child.The question I have is bread winner retired, spouse, two minor children , would the max formula hold true for this scenario?

  • – «» «» –

  • A person necessarily help to make critically posts I would state.That is the very first time I frequented your website page andto this point? I amazed with the research you made to make this particular post extraordinary.Excellent activity!

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Is Social Security A Part Of Retirement

Social Security is an important part of retirement planning both for the parents and the individual with a disability. Family members can claim benefits tied to the primary household earner once he or she begins receiving Social Security retirement benefits however, there are limits how much the family in total can collect. This article discusses the family maximum benefit, how it works, and how to plan for these limits in retirement.

The Familymaximum Calculation For Social Security Disability

How To Get The Maximum Social Security Benefit

There are some differences in the calculationfor the family maximum if you retire or die versus becoming disabled.They are both still based off of your AIME, but with the SSDI family max, thereis no formula with bend points.

Instead, the family max is equal to 85% of your AIME but limited to nomore than 150% of your full retirement age benefit and no less than 100% ofyour full retirement age benefit.

Letsassume that your AIME is $4,200. Using the current-year formula. this wouldgive you an approximate FRA benefit of $1,880. That means your family maximum would be the smaller of 85% of AIME or 150%of your full retirement age benefit:

$3,570 $2,820

In this example, the 85% of AIME would exceed the cap of 150% of FRA benefit so the family maximum would be $2,820.

Like many of the nuanced topics within Social Security, the rules forthe Social Security family maximum benefits are not as straightforward as theyseem on the surface. As such, there are a few additionalresources that you may want to use to continue your learnings about this topic.

First, check out the FAQ section below. It hassome of the answers to the questions I receive most often about the SocialSecurity family maximum benefits rules. Additionally,down below youll find several links for the research I used in this article.

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