Video: SS Family Benefit Maximum–Simplified!

Did you know that there are Social Security benefits available to your eligible family members if you die, become disabled, or retire? There are some limitations though. Generally speaking, no more than 150% – 175% of your full retirement age benefit can be paid out.

Check out this video for more information.

This video walks you through the individual steps to calculate your Social Security family benefit maximum. The numbers in the formula change on an annual basis so please note that this video is made with 2018 numbers. You can find the formula for the current family benefit maximum calculation at this link.


Transcription Below:

Hey, everyone. This is Devin Carroll. The family benefit maximum calculation can seem complicated but I want to help you make sense out of it, so let’s jump right in. Looking at the numbers for 2018, and understand these numbers do change every year, let’s walk through a scenario to see exactly how it’s calculated. First, we’ll look at the PIA range. Now, I know already you’re thinking, “Oh, no. PIA,” but that’s simply the full retirement age benefit. It’s one and the same, so understand when you’re doing this calculation for yourself and you get your Social Security statement, use the amount that says full retirement age. If that’s 67, if it’s 66 and two months, whatever it may be, that’s the number that you want to base this off of, your full retirement age benefit.

Then, there’s going to be multipliers that you run this through and the result will give you that bands contribution towards your total overall family max. Here’s the way it work. For the first $1,144, you multiply by 150%. For the second, $1,145 through $1,651, you multiply by 272%. Then, for the 1,652, through 2,154 amounts, you multiply by 134% and then last, there’s the amount of $2,155 and up and you multiply that by 175%, so let’s drop in a real full retirement age benefit and see how this is calculated. Let’s say that this for retirement age benefit is $2,550. The first $1,144 dollars as we know is multiplied by 150%. That contributes $1,716 to the family max.

Then, we have in the next range $507. That’s the amounts between 1,145 and 1,651. You multiply that by 272%. You have $1,379. For the amounts between 1,652 and 2,154, there’s $503 multiplied by 134% and that’s $674. In the last range, 2,155 and up, there’s $396 left and that’s multiplied by $175. Now, if you add the last column up that says family max, that gives you your total family maximum. When we look at this, the sum is 4,462 for the family max.

That’s as complicated as it gets. Now, you know how to calculate your own family benefit maximum. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. Check out all my other videos on my YouTube channel or on my website at Thanks for watching. Have a fantastic day.