How Much Can My Adopted Grandchildren Receive?

Sep 11 2017 - 1:26pm

About to adopt grandchildren, ages 12 and 8. I plan on filing for SS next August at 66. Benefits $2,688 per month. Wife plans to file at 70 in three years and get $3,027 per month. Question: I am told grandkids get $1,008 per month (175% of my number) when I file next August. Is that right? When one turns 18, does the other get $2,016 per month?
I will be happy to buy the software if you tell me that will get me to the best strategy/timing. Thank you.


If your full retirement age rate (PIA) is $2,688, then the family maximum benefit (FMB) payable on your record should be roughly $4704. After subtracting your PIA from the FMB, that leaves roughly $2016 potentially payable to family members on your record. So, assuming that your wife chooses not to file for spousal benefits on your record prior to switching to her own record at age 70, it sounds like your 2 adopted children could each get roughly $1,008 per month (i.e. $2016/2). However, the maximum amount payable to a single auxiliary beneficiary is 50% of the worker's PIA, so if and when there is only 1 child eligible for benefits on your record their rate would max out at about $1,344 not factoring in future COLAs. Surviving children who qualify for benefits can receive up to 75% of the deceased worker's PIA.

An added complexity is that if your adopted children also qualify for benefits on your wife's record when she files, then your family maximum can be combined with the FMB on your wife's record in order to permit more to be paid to your adopted children. There is a maximum combined FMB, however, which is currently $5,268. That could free up another $564 to be split between your children, raising their potential benefit rates while both are eligible to roughly $1,290 each (i.e. ($5268-$2688)/2).

So, your situation is complicated, but our software should definitely be able to help you choose your best course of action. The software will also permit you to calculate your potential benefit rates much more precisely. All cases involve multiple filing options, though, and your personal judgment regarding future variables (e.g. health & life expectancy) will likely play a major role in deciding which option you consider to be 'the best'. That said, the software will permit you to compare all of your options so that you can make an educated decision as to your best filing strategy.

Best, Jerry