SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home730. 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 2010 is:

Up through 972

150% of PIA

972.10 - 1403.00

1458 plus 272% of excess of 972

1403.10 - 1830.00

2630.32 plus 134% of excess of 1403.00

1830.10 or higher

3202.50 plus 175% of excess of 1830.00

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: Apr. 19, 2010