Ask Larry

Will My Son Receive My Total FMB If He Qualifies As A DAC?

I wrote to you 9/15/2020 concerning getting my disabled adult child benefits on my SS. He is 42 and started receiving benefits on his own record at 28. His present benefit is $790. plus he receive a small amt from SSI. Now I am receiving my SS benefits and since he was disabled as a child, I figured it was worth trying to get him DAC to increase his benefit. Since his original determination considered his disability onset when he applied at age 28, SS told me he was not elegible for DAC benefits--on more than one occasion. THANKS TO YOU, I pointed out your reply to me and he looked it up and admitted he was wrong--a small victory in itself. He therefore summitted his application for DAC. . But now I have another question. My FMB is around $880. I asked if my son would be able to get that and he said something about an offset. He said he would only be eligible to get a small offset amount above his current SSDI amount if he qualifies for DAC. . Please explain this to me. Would he not be entitled to my total FMB since he would be the only one collecting on it--at least for now? Please explain how this works.


If your son qualifies for disabled adult child (DAC) benefits from your account, his maximum benefit amount would be 50% of your 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). But, if 50% of your PIA would exceed the family maximum benefit (FMB) available to be paid from your record, your son's maximum DAC payment would be limited to the amount allowed by your FMB. In other words, as the only auxiliary beneficiary on your account, your son could receive up to the difference in your PIA & FMB (i.e. FMB minus your PIA), but not to exceed 50% of your PIA.

For example, let's say that your PIA is $1600, and your FMB is $2480. Up to $880 (i.e. $2480 - $1600) would then be available to be paid to auxiliary beneficiaries on your record, but your son couldn't be paid any more than $800, or 50% of your PIA.

However, if your son is eligible for Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits on his own record, the most he could be paid is the higher of his own SSDI rate or his DAC rate. He couldn't be paid both benefits in full. So, for example, if your son's DAC benefit rate was $800 as in the example above and his SSDI rate is $790, he could only be paid $800 total. Social Security would then pay his own SSDI plus $10 as a DAC (i.e. $800 - $790), for a combined monthly benefit of $800.

Also, you need to be aware that any increase in your son's monthly Social Security benefit amount will offset his Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments dollar for dollar.

Best, Jerry

Oct 21 2020 - 8:25am
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