Social Security rules for family maximum benefits

It’s possible for a person receiving Social Security retirement benefits to also support benefits to a spouse, children, and even grandchildren. When their are multiple claimants on a person’s earnings record, there may be limits on the total family benefits that can be claimed.

These family maximum benefit (FMB) rules are complicated. In a common scenario, there would be benefit limits if a worker, their spouse, and a child were simultaneously claiming benefits. Once the ceiling on total benefits was determined by Social Security, agency would import proportional benefit reductions to all claimants.

If you haven’t already done so, open an online My Social Security account. It displays your formal earnings record. For people who’ve not yet begun receiving Social Security benefits, it provides estimates of your various benefits, including your FMB. You then should be able to approximate the extent to which they your family’s benefit payments would be reduced by the FMB.