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Question for the Money Doctors

Question submitted on Feb 18, 2012.


My son and I both receive the SS survivor benefit. I know my benefit stops when he turns 16. Will his benefit increase then or stay the same as it is now?


Your son''s benefits will continue until he is 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12); or 18 or older and disabled. (The disability must have started before age 22.)

Whether or not the benefits increase at his age 16 when your benefits stop is a more complicated issue. the Social Security website says "Within a family, a child may receive up to one-half of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit, or 75 percent of the deceased parent’s basic Social Security benefit. However, there is a limit to the amount of money that can be paid to a family. The family maximum payment is determined as part of every Social Security benefit computation and can be from 150 to 180 percent of the parent’s full benefit amount. If the total amount payable to all family members exceeds this limit, each person’s benefit is reduced proportionately (except the parent’s) until the total equals the maximum allowable amount." 

Since this calculation is based on information that may only be available to the Social security Administration, I recommend that you schedule an appointment with your local Social Security office to discuss this question in detail. They are very easy to work with and very helpful in person, but do schedule an appointment to avoid a possible long wait.

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