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How Can I Verify That My Children Are Getting The Right Amount?

I am retired and have 2 minor children. I have read everything that I can find online to figure out the formula for my children’s benefits. It seems that what the SSA is calculating is the lesser amount of those. How can I verify that I am getting what I am entitled to?

Hi. Unless reduced due to the family maximum benefit (FMB) limit, the benefit rate for a child receiving benefits on the account of a living parent is calculated at 50% of their parent's primary insurance amount (PIA). A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing their benefits at full retirement age (FRA). If only 1 child and no spouse is collecting benefits on the parent's account, the child can be paid their full 50% of the parent's PIA without any reduction due to the FMB.

However, if more than 1 child, or a child(ren) and a spouse are collecting auxiliary benefits (e.g. spouse, child) on the account of a living worker, they couldn't all be paid their full 50% of the worker's PIA without exceeding the FMB. In that case, the benefit rate payable to eligible auxiliary beneficiaries would be calculated in 2 steps. First, the worker's PIA would be subtracted from the FMB limit, then the difference would then be split between the eligible auxiliaries.

For example, say Bob is eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. Bob's PIA is $2000, although he only receives $1550 because he started drawing benefits at age 62. The FMB limit on Bob's account is $3500. Bob has 3 minor children eligible for child benefits on his account. If only 1 child was eligible then he or she could be paid a full 50% of Bob's PIA, or $1000. But, since there are 3 eligible children, they can each only be paid $500 (i.e. FMB of $3500 minus Bob's PIA of $2000 equals $1500, divided by 3 equals $500).

If you'd like to verify Social Security's math you might want to consider using the benefit calculator included in our software (

Best, Jerry

Jul 8 2021 - 2:53pm
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