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Maximum Monthly Benefits Payable on One Earnings Record

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at ssa.gov.

730. Maximum Monthly Benefits Payable on One Earnings Record

730.1 Is there a maximum family benefit on a Social Security record?

Yes. A maximum family benefit is payable on a Social Security record. Generally, no more than the established maximum can be paid to a family, regardless of the number of beneficiaries entitled on that Social Security record. The family maximum is determined by the method of computing the PIA and the kind of benefits payable to the worker.

730.2 How is the maximum family benefit computed under "first eligibility or death before 1979?"

If you turn 62 or become disabled or die before 1979, your PIA is based on your average monthly earnings. It is determined from the table that was in the Social Security Act as of December 31, 1978, and increased by cost-of-living increases. A table of family maximums that is associated with special minimum PIA's is published in the Federal Register after each increase.

730.3 How is the maximum family benefit computed under "first eligibility or death before age 62 in 1979 or later years?"

The family maximum is computed by adding fixed percentages of predetermined dollar amounts (i.e., the bend points) which are part of the PIA. The formula in effect for 2006 is:

  1. Take 150 (1.5) percent of the first $869 of the PIA.

  2. Add 272 (2.72) percent of the next $386 to the result attained in (A).

  3. Add 134 (1.34) percent of the next $381 to the result attained in (B).

  4. Add 175 (1.75) percent of the PIA above $1,636 to the result attained in (C).

The bend points will usually change each year in the same way that the bend points used to compute the PIA change (see §706).

730.4 How is the maximum family benefit computed under "first entitlement to disability insurance benefits after June 1980, first eligibility after 1978?"

The family maximum is 85 percent of the AIME (see §701). However, it cannot be less than the PIA nor more than 150 percent of the PIA.

Last Revised: Jul. 30, 2007


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