Understanding the Social Security Family Maximum

Social Security Bulletin. 75(3): 1-13, 2015

13 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2015

See all articles by Kathleen Romig

Kathleen Romig

Government of the United States of America, Social Security Administration, Office of Retirement Policy

Dave Shoffner

U.S. Social Security Administration

Date Written: August 3, 2015

Abstract

Social Security’s family maximum rules limit the total benefits payable to a beneficiary’s family. Different family maximum rules apply to retirement and survivor benefits than to disability benefits. The rules for calculating family maximum benefits are complicated. In some particularly complex cases, it is difficult to properly implement the family maximum, which can result in over- or underpayments. This article explains how the family maximum rules work and describes their evolution. The authors use Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6, data to analyze who is affected by the family maximum and to what extent their benefits are changed.

Keywords: Social Security, family maximum, disability

JEL Classification: H55

Suggested Citation

Romig, Kathleen and Shoffner, Dave, Understanding the Social Security Family Maximum (August 3, 2015). Social Security Bulletin. 75(3): 1-13, 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2640169

Kathleen Romig (Contact Author)

Government of the United States of America, Social Security Administration, Office of Retirement Policy ( email )

500 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20254
United States

Dave Shoffner

U.S. Social Security Administration ( email )

Washington, DC 20254
United States

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