SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home734. Entitlement to Retirement or Disability Insurance Benefits and Another Benefit

734.1 Can you be entitled to retirement or disability insurance benefits and another higher benefit?

Yes. It is possible to be entitled to retirement or disability benefits as well as another higher benefit. In this case, you will receive the retirement or disability insurance benefit plus the difference between this benefit and the higher one. If the higher benefit is not payable, either in whole or in part for one or more months, the retirement or disability insurance benefit may be payable.

Example: Mrs. Martel is entitled to retirement insurance benefits of $128.10 and to spouse's insurance benefits of $159.10. The total benefit payable to her is $159.10, made up of a retirement insurance benefit of $128.10 and a spouse's insurance benefit of $31.00. If the spouse's insurance benefit is not payable for some months because of her husband's earnings, she will receive her own retirement insurance benefit of $128.10.

734.2 Could a larger benefit result if the smaller of the primary benefits were chosen?

Yes. In certain situations, e.g., the disability family maximum or the workers' compensation offset, a larger total family benefit would result if you chose the smaller of the two primary benefits.

Last Revised: Sep. 22, 2003