Understanding the Maximum Family Benefit for SSDI

woman holding man's hand on his wheelchair

The maximum family benefit for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is usually at or nearly 150% of a primary beneficiary’s primary insurance amount (PIA). A person’s PIA is the full monthly benefit that he or she is entitled to according to his or her lifetime earnings.

How the SSDI Family Maximum Works

If a person receives SSDI benefits, his or her spouse and children can also collect monthly cash payments known as family or auxiliary benefits. Family benefits are based on the primary beneficiary’s earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) limits the total benefits it can pay to an SSDI beneficiary’s family based on his or her earnings record.

Each family member may be entitled to receive a family benefit of up to 50% of the disabled worker’s monthly benefit amount. The total amount that every family member receives depends on:

  • The amount of benefit paid out to the primary beneficiary
  • The number of the beneficiary’s family members supposed to receive the auxiliary benefits

The primary beneficiary’s monthly payments are not reduced to meet the SSDI family benefit cap. Instead, the SSA reduces the other family member’s benefits in equal measure until the sum of the benefits of all the family members equals the SSDI family maximum.

For a disabled worker, the SSDI family maximum cannot be less than 100% or exceed 150% of his or her PIA. Typically, the maximum is around 150% of the PIA.

If a person receives an SSDI monthly benefit of $1,400, then the family maximum would be 150% of the benefit, which is equal to $2,100. If the person’s spouse, daughter, and son qualify for up to 50% of the person’s benefit, they would receive $700 each. Nevertheless, after the primary beneficiary’s $1,400 benefit is deducted from the $2,100 family maximum, only $700 remains to pay the spouse and kids. SSA will split the $700 equally, resulting in each member getting $233.

When an SSDI beneficiary attains the full retirement age, his or her disability benefits become retirement benefits. SSA’s calculation for retired workers usually yields a family maximum benefit ranging from 150% to 188% of the PIA. As a result, the reduction of the children’s and spouse’s benefits is less. An attorney for disability claims can provide more information on the payments that individuals and the family members financially dependent on them ought to receive.

Social Security Disability

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