Will My Stepmom Be Able To Draw My Father's Full Amount?

Jan 24 2019 - 9:30am

I have a disabled brother Dale (56) and disabled sister Terri (47) that are drawing off my Dads Social Security. My dad passed away and their Social Security benefits went up. My stepmom is also trying to draw Dads social security since his was a lot higher than hers is. Will she still be able to draw Dads amount instead of hers since they have already raised my brother and sisters. They do not live with my stepmom. I oversee their benefit spending.

thank you


Assuming that your stepmom qualifies for benefits on your father's record as a widow as opposed to a surviving divorced wife, it sounds like her widow's rate would likely be reduced due to the family maximum benefit (FMB). Surviving children who qualify for benefits on a parent's record are normally paid at a rate of 75% of the deceased worker's primary insurance amount (PIA), and unreduced widow's benefits are normally 100% of the deceased worker's PIA. However, the FMB limits the total amount that can be paid to eligible family members (excluding benefits for divorced spouses) to anywhere from 150% to 175% of the worker's PIA.

For example, say Bob dies and his PIA was $2000. Bob leaves behind a widow and 2 disabled adult children who qualify for survivor benefits on his record, and none of them are eligible for Social Security benefits on their own records. Each child's unreduced benefit rate would be $1500 (75% of Bob's PIA) and his widow's unreduced rate would be $2000, but they couldn't be paid their full amounts without exceeding the $3500 FMB limit on Bob's record. Therefore, in this example Bob's widow's unreduced rate would reduced to $1400 and his children's benefit rates would be reduced to $1050 each in order to stay within the FMB.

Our software is designed to handle the benefit computations involved in cases like this, so your stepmom should strongly consider using our software to explore and compare her options in order to determine her best strategy for claiming benefits.

Best, Jerry