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Wouldn't My Son Be Eligible For Benefits Under Both My Record And His Deceased Father's Record?

My husband passed away in August of 2019. We have a 15 year old son. We started collecting widow and child benefits shortly after. Since then I was found to be disabled as of April 2022. They cut my widows benefit and my sons child benefit under my deceased husband record and switched it to benefits under my work record. I am 48 years old. My question is, wouldn't my son be eligible under both records? Wouldn't he be considered simultaneously entitled and the family max combined? They are only paying him based on my work record. He gets half of my monthly disability payment amount only. Also, wouldn't I be eligible for some of my deceased husband's benefits because I am caring for his son?

Hi JDB. I'm sorry for your loss. Even though your son is apparently simultaneously entitled on both your account and his father's account, he can only be paid on one account, not both. I can't give you much in the way of specific information without more details, but I can give you some general information. Surviving child benefits are calculated based on 75% of the deceased parent's primary insurance amount (PIA), whereas child benefits on the account of a living parent are calculated at 50% of the living parent's PIA. Therefore, it sounds like your son would likely qualify for roughly the higher of either a) 75% of his father's PIA or b) 50% of your PIA.

However, even though your and your husband's family maximum benefits (FMB) can be combined if your son is simultaneously entitled on both records, the FMB can still in some cases limit the benefit amount payable to less than the child's full benefit rate.

Furthermore, even if you technically qualify for both Social Security disability (SSDI) benefits on your own account and for survivor benefits, you can't be paid both benefits in full. If your SSDI rate is higher than your survivor rate, you could only be paid your SSDI benefit. But, if your SSDI benefit is lower than your survivor rate, you could be paid your full SSDI benefit plus a partial survivor benefit. The two benefits combined could add up to as much as the higher survivor benefit rate. However, the FMB can limit the amount that you could be paid from your husband's account, even if a combined family maximum is involved.

Our software ( is designed to handle all of the computations involved in a situation such as yours, so you may want to strongly consider using the software to determine if the benefit payments that you and your son are receiving are accurate.

Best, Jerry

Feb 17 2023 - 6:41pm
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