• MICHAEL LOFTUS

Do You Know What Your Maximum Family Social Security Benefits Are?


Today is the beginning of a new series on Social Security. We're going to discuss maximum amount for family benefit, as with anything to do with social security, it's confusing. Before we get started, it may be helpful for you to have your most recent statement in front of you, that way you can follow along with your specific numbers.


What is the Max family benefit? It's the most a family can collect from Social Security in the form of retirement, disability, spousal, children's and survivor benefits. Now, this is going to be the earnings of one family member. That family member is the one with a higher earnings amount. Therefore, the higher social security amount.


Here is a quick chart that explains some of the benefits. Spouse benefit, child benefit, to the children percentages, etc.


Family maximum benefits cap to a range of 150% to 188% of a retired, deceased, or disabled individual's full retirement benefit's. let's look at some scenarios, If you retire and become disabled, then your social security family benefits would provide an eligible or current spouse with up to 50% of your full retirement age benefit at his/ her full retirement age, or reduce benefits at 62. This is where it starts to get confusing. let's get a little bit deeper here, an eligible former or current spouse of any age with up to 50% of your retirement age benefit if they have your child in care, who is under the age of 16 or of any age If disabled. Your eligible children with benefit of up to 50% of your retirement age benefit as long as they're under the age of 18 or 19 and still in high school, or disabled before the age of 22. Let's break this down even more, if you die, an eligible current or former spouse can receive up to 100% of your full retirement age benefit amount at his or her retirement age. Pretty simple, right? That's standard or reduced benefits as early as age 60, 50 If disabled. An eligible former or current spouse can receive up to 75% of your full retirement age benefit if they have your child in care who is under the age of 16 or any age if disabled. This is where it gets even more confusing, there are so many percentages. Your eligible children can receive a benefit up to 75% of your full retirement age benefit if they again are under the age of 18 or 19, still in high school or disabled before the age of 22.


Here is a Social Security statement, If you do not know your numbers go to SSA.GOV , setup your account. All of these numbers are available to you well before retirement.

This is Survivor Benefits $2013. You see the full retirement age, the number $2685, Now below that, You'll see $4,698 a month. that is your total family benefit. Also, if you add this up, a couple of things you should know. $2685 (what is 75% of that number) There you go, this is your $2013, $2013 plus $2685 equals your full family benefit. Hopefully this will be helpful to you the next time you are reading your social security statement. To recap, if you die and your spouse is 50 and you have three minor children, (Here comes a more confusing part) each child is 75% 75% 75%. Wait a second, That's 300%. That can't be right?!? Well it isn't. This is a situation were we go back to some of our caps and limits. If you're retired or disabled first, your benefits gonna stay the same, but the benefit beneficiaries will be reduced using the same example of a 50 year old spouse surviving. You have the 100% , 50%, 50%, and 50% . 300% max benefit has been applied.


So your benefit again is $2685 , your spouse and 3 kids are getting 50%.

You add that $503 up, and there is your $2013, now add $2687 And there you have your max amount $4698 Are you following? I know this is becoming confusing.


To answer a few additional questions, Is the family max benefit the same Max benefit? In other words, of what you can take. The answer is no. Max benefit is based on an individual's work history. What if you start your benefit before full retirement age? Full retirement age is 66/ 67, depending on when you were born. If you decide to start at 62, what effect does that have? None. It will not affect the family benefit at all. What if you have an ex-spouse? No, it will not affect it. They can still take their amount as long as they have not remarried.


In conclusion, speak with a planner, somebody who understands this. Go to your Social Security office. Although some of them are not going to know everything.


Thanks for reading !


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