Video: Social Security Family Benefits

Who Gets What & How Much

Do you know how much in benefits your family is entitled to if you become disabled, die or retire? There are different rules for each type of benefit. Check out this video for an easy to understand description of who gets what and how much.


Transcription Below:

Hey, everyone. This is Devin Carroll. If you think Social Security is just for retired people, here’s some numbers that may change your mind. These are from the Social Security Administration for 2014. There were 3.3 million children receiving benefits and 34% of all Social Security benefits paid were to the spouses and children of retired, deceased, or disabled workers. You need to know what kind of benefits are available to your family members. Let’s dive in and find out.

To make this as understandable as possible, I want to break this down into three separate categories. There’s the spouse benefit that we commonly think of as just the Social Security spousal benefit. Then there’s the child in care benefit that is an amount available to a spouse if they have a child that meets certain criteria. Then there’s the benefit available to children. The Social Security Administration often refers to this as a child’s benefit.

We have to break this down further into two occurrences. One is if you die, there’s a certain amount of benefits available to those three classes. If you become disabled or retire, there’s another amount of benefits that’s available. Then I want to further break it down and look at age restrictions and whether or not it’s subject to the earnings limitation.

First, let’s look at the spousal benefit. If you die, your spouse is eligible for 100% of your full retirement benefit amount. Now that’s going to be reduced if your spouse files before his or her full retirement age. There’s also some other rules that come into play. If you have already filed and you filed early, their benefit could be reduced. But if you haven’t filed for Social Security, just understand that 100% of that benefit amount is available to your spouse and it will only be reduced if he or she files early.

If your spouse has a child at home that meets the criteria, then that spouse is eligible for 100% of your full retirement age benefit amount. That is not reduced for age. If you have eligible children at home and you die, those children are eligible for up to 75% of your full retirement age benefit amount.

Now there is the family benefit maximum calculation that comes into play that limits the total amount of benefits that can be paid to a beneficiary of somewhere between 150 to 175% of your full retirement age benefit. We’ve made a video on that topic that shows you exactly how to calculate it. Just go out to my channel and you can find it there.

Now moving on to if you retire or become disabled. In that case your spouse is eligible for 50% of your full retirement age benefit amount. Again, it’s reduced for filing age. However, if she has a child at home it is not reduced for filing age and she’s still eligible for the 50%. Each eligible child at home is also eligible for 50% of your full retirement age benefit.

Now let’s look at some of the restrictions that are here. First, if you die, your surviving spouse can file at 60. If he or she is disabled, as early as 50. If you become disabled, your spouse can file for the normal spousal benefit at age 62. However, this changes if you have a child at home. They can receive that child in care benefit up until the child is 16 or any age if that child is disabled. Then the child’s benefit can be paid to that child until he or she is 18 or 19 if they’re still in high school, or any age if they have a disability that started before they were 22.

Now what about the earnings limit? How does it apply to these various benefits? It’s not the same for all of those so I wanted to break it out individually as well. For a spousal benefit, it does apply until your surviving or living spouse reaches full retirement age. For the child in care spousal benefit, if you have a spouse that’s staying home taking care of a child but maybe they’re doing some work on the side as well, you have to understand that earnings limitation is going to impact them there as well. What about the child’s benefit? Yes, it does count, but the parent’s earnings don’t count. It’s that only the child’s earnings.

I know this was a lot of numbers. Stop this video if you need to, rewind it, pause it, whatever it takes to go back and fully grasp all of these benefits that are available to your eligible beneficiaries. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Thanks for watching. Have a great day.