Can You Explain The Parisi Case And It's Effect?

Jun 23 2020 - 8:15am

Can you explain the Parisi Case and its effect? Our daughter is dually entitled to her own SSDI and CBD on my husband's record. SSA is using this case as justification for determining her total benefit to be less than 50% of her dad's PIA---I also collect parent in care benefits, which is 50% of his PIA. However, my benefit at 50% and her CBD benefit are well below our calculated family maximum. We have been unable to get an answer except "Parisi Case"


That's a tall order. I'll try, but you can read the ruling for yourself here: The important thing to know about the Parisi ruling is that it was favorable for families. No Social Security beneficiary receives less benefits due to the Parisi ruling, and many people are paid more.

It might help you to understand the ruling if I give you an example. Let's say Bob is drawing Social Security retirement benefits with a primary insurance amount (PIA) of $2000. The family maximum benefit (FMB) limit on Bob's record is $3500, meaning that after Bob's PIA is deducted, up to $1500 is available to be paid to eligible family members. Bob has a son who is eligible for disabled adult child's (DAC) benefits, and a wife eligible for child in care spousal benefits. Bob's wife and son could normally be paid up to $1000 each (i.e. 50% of Bob's PIA), but their benefit rate is reduced to $750 each because of the FMB.

There is no guarantee, by the way, that the full FMB will be paid. For example, let's say Bob in our example above started getting his benefits at age 62 and received a reduced rate of $1500 instead of his full PIA. That would not change the amount payable to Bob's wife and son. His full PIA would still be deducted from the FMB in order to determine the amount due to his family members. So, as a family they would only be getting $3000 (i.e. $1500 + $750 + $750), not the full $3500 FMB.

Now let's go back to our example and say that Bob's son is getting $500 per month in Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits on his own account. Bob's son would then be paid his own SSDI benefits plus a partial DAC of $250, or a total of the same $750 that he would be due if he was eligible only for DAC benefits. Prior to the Parisi ruling, the fact that Bob's son's DAC benefit was reduced to $250 wouldn't have affected the amount payable to Bob's wife. She would have still only received $750, or half of the $1500 available from the FMB. The Parisi ruling allowed that the $500 not paid to Bob's son from Bob's record due to his dual entitlement to SSDI benefits could be redistributed to other non-dually entitled family members. As a result, Bob's wife could then be paid her full 50% of Bob's PIA, or $1000, instead of $750. However, Parisi did not change the amount payable to dually entitled family members like Bob's son, so he'd still only get a total benefit of $750 (i.e. $500 SSDI + $250 DAC).

Additional examples can be found in the following section of Social Security's operations manual: The bottom line is that your son isn't getting a lower total benefit amount because of the Parisi ruling, but you're likely getting a higher spousal benefit than you would have gotten prior to the Parisi ruling.

Best, Jerry