Ask Larry

Is There A Family Cap On Benefits?

I have two sons who live with us that get social security disability. I am retiring soon and was wondering if there are any issues I should be aware of such as is there a family cap for social security or does anything in my social security affect the amounts they get? In other words, should I have a strategy that included their disability or should I just plan on taking to at 70 (which is my plan).
Thank you!
PS heard you on Money Life and bought your book!

Hi. There is no set limit on the total amount that can be paid to a family, but there is a family maximum benefit (FMB) limit on the monthly amount that can be paid from any single individual's account.

For example, let's say Bob, Jane, and their 2 disabled children are all drawing benefits based on their own individual earnings histories. Each individual's benefit rate would then be calculated independently, and there would be no limit on how much they could be paid collectively. Conversely, let's say that Bob is receiving Social Security retirement benefits, and Jane and the 2 children are all drawing auxiliary benefits from Bob's account (i.e. spousal and disabled adult child benefits). In that case, the amount paid to Jane and the 2 children would be limited by the FMB on Bob's account.

If your children are receiving Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits based on their own earnings histories, those benefits won't be affected if you apply for benefits. However, if your primary insurance amount (PIA) is more than twice as much as your children's PIAs and if they became disabled prior to age 22, then they may be able to qualify for additional disabled adult child's (DAC) benefits when you apply for your benefits. It sounds like you should strongly consider using our software ( to fully analyze the options available to you in order to determine your best strategy for maximizing benefits for your family.

Best, Jerry

Jan 5 2022 - 9:27am
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