Social Security Family Maximum Benefits: The Complete Guide

On paper, the Social Security system has a generous payment to beneficiaries of someone who retires, dies, or becomes disabled. But what catches many people by surprise is that there’s a limit to these payments.

The Social Security family maximum benefits rule may stop you from getting the full amount you might expect.

This article takes a very deep dive into the issue to explain both the common, well-known rules around the Social Security family maximum benefits — and the more obscure rules that cause benefits to be capped to a range of 150%-188% of a retired, deceased or disabled individual’s full retirement age benefit.

We’ll also go over the calculation, and teach you how to determine what kinds of benefits to expect in your own situation.

Read moreSocial Security Family Maximum Benefits: The Complete Guide

How to Use Medicaid Long Term Care for Nursing Home Expense in Texas

It’s rare for me to have a guest article on my site. However, a few weeks ago, I had a meeting that disturbed me. As soon as the meeting was over I contacted Texas Elder Law Attorney John Ross and asked him to write this guide for my readers on how to use Medicaid Long Term Care to pay for nursing home expenses.

I just couldn’t see a story like this happen again.

It’s been a few weeks now, but I still think about this meeting often. Listening to the woman that I met with her and her story was heartbreaking. I felt so sorry for her — but there was nothing I could do to help her.

I’m sharing her story with you here in hopes that someone else won’t make the same mistakes.

Read moreHow to Use Medicaid Long Term Care for Nursing Home Expense in Texas

The Maximum Social Security Benefit

Turning 66 in 2020? That means the maximum Social Security benefit you could receive is $3,011.

That’s no small sum! If you wanted to get that same amount of income from a portfolio of retirement savings you’d need A LOT of money at the beginning of your retirement.

And it could get even better for you if you waited to file for Social Security. In 2020, the maximum benefit for an individual who delayed filing for benefits until age 70 is $3,790 per month. That’s more than $45,000 per year in benefits!

With dollars like these at stake, it makes good sense to pay attention to the best filing strategies for you — and how to potentially claim the maximum Social Security benefit.

Read moreThe Maximum Social Security Benefit

Should You Trust Your Social Security Benefits Estimate?

Should you trust your social security estimate

If you’re building a retirement income plan (and I hope you are!), Social Security will likely play a role. As such, you need to know what to expect in Social Security benefits when constructing your plan to ensure it works.

Unfortunately, your Social Security benefits estimate from the statements you can pull from the Social Security Administration is not the best source of information on what to expect in the future.

The issue lies with the omissions that the Administration makes with their estimate methodology. To understand why this is a problem, we need to start with a basic overview of the calculation used to create your Social Security benefit estimate.

Read moreShould You Trust Your Social Security Benefits Estimate?

7 Social Security Myths That Could Derail Your Retirement

social security myths

With a system as complex as Social Security, it’s inevitable that misinformation (or simply a misunderstanding of the facts) will spread. It’s hard to understand what’s true and what’s not, and often, our brains prefer the version of events that feel intuitively more simple to understand.

And of course, Social Security is anything but simple to understand.

Read more7 Social Security Myths That Could Derail Your Retirement

Should You Apply for Social Security Disability or Retirement Benefits?

the choice of filing for ssdi can be difficult

If you’re retiring early for health reasons, do you know what benefit to file for when you claim Social Security?

Most people don’t, and simply assume they just need to file for retirement benefits. But if you could receive disability benefits instead, choosing to file normally could cause you to miss out on a lot of money.

Let me tell you this story to explain how.

Read moreShould You Apply for Social Security Disability or Retirement Benefits?

Will The Social Security Administration Close Their Field Offices?

The Social Security Administration will not be the same in 10 years. They have a plan that is rapidly unfolding and some of this is detailed in their “Vision 2025” strategic plan.

You might have heard a little about this already. The Administration has a webpage devoted to it — but to really get into the meat of what the Social Security Administration plans to do next, you have to dive into the supporting studies.

Let’s take a look together in this article. I’ll help you cover the entire spectrum of what the Social Security Administration (or SSA) has in the works… and what I see as the biggest challenge to getting this off the ground.

Read moreWill The Social Security Administration Close Their Field Offices?

How to (Correctly) Stop Social Security Benefits

how to stop your social security benefit

Most of us spend a lot of time figuring out how to maximize the benefits we can receive from Social Security. After all, when we’re talking about retirement, every extra income stream and every dollar makes a difference.

So it might sound strange at first to talk about how to stop your Social Security benefits from coming in. But in some situations, there are a number of reasons why stopping your Social Security benefit is the right thing to do.

There’s a right way to do this, and a wrong way — and you need to know the difference so you can understand when it makes sense to turn off Social Security benefits, and how to do it correctly so that action doesn’t come back to bite you down the road.

Read moreHow to (Correctly) Stop Social Security Benefits

4 Big Medicare Mistakes You Might Be Making (and How to Avoid Them)

There are a few mistakes you can make with your Medicare benefits that seem small, but actually carry some big, nasty consequences.

I’m talking about the kind of consequences that can cost you thousands of dollars. That’s a lot of money that you could have on the line — and the confusing Medicare system doesn’t make it any easier to avoid big mistakes.

Medicare is full of confusing language, plans that seem awfully similar, a lot of different deadlines, and more than a few hidden costs that can take you (and your budget) by surprise.

I’ve seen more than a few people make these specific Medicare mistakes, and I want to help you avoid becoming just another one of many. Here’s what I see most often — and how you can avoid making these same errors.

Read more4 Big Medicare Mistakes You Might Be Making (and How to Avoid Them)

Do Felons Have a Right to Social Security?

It’s no secret that Social Security is not the easiest system to understand. A maze of complex and complicated rules make it very hard to understand what is and isn’t allowed, and there are a number of hoops everyone has to jump through to ensure they get their benefits in the right amount.

Another not-so-secret fact about the system? It’s plagued with problems, the biggest of which may be the fact that the Social Security Administration’s trust funds will run out of money around 2035 unless someone finds a fix — and quick.

Considering this, it’s little wonder that people are quick to take issue with anything about Social Security that seems to indicate that someone is getting more benefits than they should. After all, anyone receiving income from Social Security is pulling from a very finite pool of resources.

The more money that goes to people who shouldn’t be receiving it means less for people who truly need it.

So when it comes to people with felony convictions who receive Social Security checks, it’s little wonder people get very fired up about this topic. But there’s also a lot of misinformation floating around about this topic, so let’s set the record straight about whether felons have a right to Social Security or not.

A Felony Conviction Does Not Automatically Disqualify Someone for Social Security

Not long ago, someone commented that the Social Security system wouldn’t be in such trouble if we didn’t have prisons full of people collecting disability and retirement benefits.

While I have a lot of content, in the form of both blog posts and videos on my YouTube channel, dedicated to breaking down and explaining the complex rules around Social Security, that comment made me realize that I’ve never gone into detail on whether or not someone with a felony conviction can receive benefits.

Here’s how this works: a felony conviction alone does not turn off your Social Security benefits. But an individual cannot receive benefits while imprisoned for more than 30 days for that conviction.

That detail is important! It means that if someone is arrested for a crime, and spends 90 days in county jail waiting on their trial, their benefits will continue. In order for the benefits to be suspended, they must be convicted and imprisoned for more than 30 days.

The Rules Around Medicare and Other Benefits for Imprisoned Individuals

While we’re clearing up the misinformation around whether or not convicted felons serving their sentences for their crimes are eligible for benefits, let’s look at a few other important points that most people don’t have the facts on.

If someone is on Medicare when they go to prison, their Social Security benefits will stop. The automated payments to Medicare Part B stop, as well — but those premiums are still due and payable.

If an individual does not pay their Part B premiums, then their Medicare Part B coverage will discontinue. That person would then have to reapply for benefits during an open enrollment period. The result for that person would most likely be a much higher Part B premium.

The other interesting note is with regards to spousal and childrens’ benefits. The rules are fairly clear that if a spouse or child is receiving benefits from the work of an individual who is incarcerated, that benefit will continue.

Keep in mind that before a spouse or child can receive a benefit from another work record, the individual who owns that record has to file first. If someone is in prison when they first become eligible to file, then they can’t actually take that action — and if they can’t file, then their spouses and children can’t receive their benefit.

What’s Your Take on This Topic?

It’s easy to hear rumors like the one that a bunch of felons are sitting around collecting Social Security, and feel worried or concerned over whether that’s completely true. After all, Social Security is in some degree of trouble because funds will run out unless new rules or regulations go into effect soon.

But I ask that you really think this one through. Some people believe that if an individual is being provided housing and food by the government at taxpayer expense, they shouldn’t be able to get any kind of Social Security benefit on top of that.

But you can consider this from another perspective, too. Some people say that if a prisoner worked for their entire life and contributed to the system, the government shouldn’t be able to seize any portion of that earned benefit.

Questions?
If you still have questions, you could leave a comment below, but what may be an even greater help is to join my FREE Facebook members group. It’s very active and has some really smart people who love to answer any questions you may have about Social Security. From time to time I’ll even drop in to add my thoughts, too. Also…if you haven’t already, you should join the 100,000+ subscribers on my YouTube channel!