Ask Larry

When I Start Receiving SS Can My Son Then Get Half Of My Benefit Amount?

My son receives SSI for Down Syndrome, when I start receiving SS at age 67 my full retirement age, can my son then get half of my eligible disability payment (this would make a huge difference from $529 to $1,292)? Would we be subject to the family maximum if I receive SS at age 67 (38 yr work history), my wife receives SS at age 67 (35 yr work history) and my son receives half of my eligible disability payment (the total would be about $6,000)? Thank you so much for your response!

Hi. Unmarried children who became disabled prior to age 22 can potentially qualify for disabled adult child's (DAC) benefits on the account of a parent who is either deceased or receiving Social Security disability or retirement benefits. Therefore, it certainly sounds like your son will be eligible for DAC benefits when either you or your wife starts drawing your benefits.

A DAC can be paid up to 50% of the amount of a living parent's primary insurance amount (PIA), or up to 75% of a deceased parent's 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). Your son's DAC rate likely wouldn't be affected by the family maximum benefit (FMB) unless your wife is also collecting spousal benefits from your account. Assuming that your son does qualify for DAC benefits, his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments will basically be reduced dollar for dollar by his DAC benefit rate. So, it sounds like your son's SSI benefits will likely stop altogether if and when he becomes eligible for DAC benefits on your account.

There are numerous possible filing strategies that can be used when you have a DAC in your care. For example, if you start drawing your retirement benefits your son could potentially file for DAC benefits and your wife could file for child in care spousal benefits. Your wife could then potentially let her own retirement benefit rate grow until she reaches age 70. Or, conversely, your wife could file for her retirement benefits and you and your son could potentially file for benefits on her account while letting your own retirement benefit rate grow until age 70. Or, if or when both you and your wife file for retirement benefits, your FMBs could potentially be combined to allow more total family benefits to be paid.

The best filing strategy for you and your family depends on numerous different factors, so you should strongly consider using our software ( to fully analyze the options available in order to determine the best strategy to maximize benefits for your family.

Best, Jerry

Apr 30 2021 - 2:19pm
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