If We Lose Benefits Due To Earning Too Much Will Our Family Maximum Increase At FRA?

Jul 1 2020 - 3:10pm

I'm thinking of taking SS at 63 and will likely be at my family limit since I have a DAC. If we make more than the limit before FRA, will our family maximum increase at FRA to be able to get back any money that we lost by earning too much between 63 and FRA?


Your current and future earnings could potentially increase both your primary insurance amount (PIA) and your family maximum benefit (FMB) rate regardless of when you claim benefits. A person's PIA is equal to their Social Security retirement benefit rate if they start drawing at full retirement age (FRA). However, a person's PIA and FMB are calculated based on an average of their highest 35 years of Social Security covered wage indexed earnings, so your current and future earnings will only increase your PIA and FMB if you earn more in a year than you did in one of your previous highest 35 earnings years.

What won't increase either your PIA or your FMB is if you file prior to FRA and some of your benefits are withheld due to the Social Security earnings test. All that would happen in that case would be that your own reduced monthly benefit rate would be adjusted effective with the month you reach FRA to remove the percentage reduction that was applied to your retirement benefit rate for any months that your benefits weren't paid because you earned too much. The benefit withholding wouldn't have any direct impact on either your PIA or FMB, nor would it cause the benefit rates of your eligible family members to increase.

Before filing, you should strongly consider using our software (https://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/purchase) to do your Social Security planning. The software is fully programmed to consider both the effects of the earnings test on benefits, and benefit recalculations that may result from your current and future earnings.

Best, Jerry