SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home717. Special Minimum PIA

717.1 What is a special minimum PIA?

A “special minimum PIA” is payable to some persons who have had covered employment or self-employment for many years at low earnings. It only applies if the resulting payment is higher than the benefit computed by any other method.

717.2 How is the special minimum PIA computed?

The amount of the special minimum PIA is computed by multiplying the number of years of coverage, in excess of 10 and up to 30, by $9.00 for benefits payable for years before 1979. We multiply the number of years of coverage, in excess of 10 and up to 30, by $11.50 for benefits payable for 1979 and later.

Cost-of-living increases apply to the special minimum PIA beginning in 1979. The cost-of-living increase is required to be published in the Federal Register on or before November 14 of the year preceding the year the benefits are payable.

717.3 What is the special minimum PIA for 2009?

The chart below shows the special minimum PIA payable in 2009.

Number of years of coverage

Primary Insurance Amount

Maximum family benefit

11

$ 36.90

$ 56.10

12

75.10

113.70

13

113.60

171.00

14

151.60

228.10

15

189.40

285.20

16

227.80

342.80

17

266.10

400.50

18

304.30

457.60

19

342.40

515.00

20

380.70

572.00

21

419.10

629.80

22

457.00

687.00

23

495.80

745.10

24

533.90

802.00

25

572.00

858.70

26

610.80

917.10

27

654.90

974.30

28

686.80

1,031.40

29

725.20

1,089.10

30

763.20

1,145.80

717.4 How does SSA determine your number of years of covered work?

The number of years of covered work must never be more than 30. Years of covered work are determined by the following:

  1. We add up your total wages credited to you for the years after 1936 and before 1951.

  2. We divide the sum in (A) by $900. We do not count any fraction (do not round up or down). This number must not be higher than 14.

  3. We count the number of years after 1950 which are: (1) “base years” within the meaning of §§703 through 705; and (2) years in 1951-1978 in which you have credit for wages and self-employment income of at least 25 percent of the maximum amount. We add this to the result attained in (B).

  4. Count the number of years after 1978 in which you have credit for at least 25 percent of the amounts shown in the table below through 1990 and add this to the result attained in (C).

Year

Earnings Amount

Year

Earnings Amount

1979

$18,900

1995

$45,300

1980

$20,400

1996

$46,500

1981

$22,200

1997

$48,600

1982

$24,300

1998

$50,700

1983

$26,700

1999

$53,700

1984

$28,200

2000

$56,700

1985

$29,700

2001

$59,700

1986

$31,500

2002

$63,000

1987

$32,700

2003

$64,500

1988

$33,600

2004

$65,100

1989

$35,700

2005

$66,900

1990

$38,100

2006

$69,900

1991

$39,600

2007

$72,600

1992

$41,400

2008

$75,900

1993

$42,900

2009

$79,200

1994

$45,000

2010

$79,200

Beginning in 1991, the law was changed to require that a minimum earnings amount of 15 percent is needed for a credit year.

The amounts used for later years will be determined by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) based on increases in the average nationwide wage. These amounts are published in the Federal Register on or before November 1 of the year preceding the year the benefits are payable.

Last Revised: Apr. 19, 2010