733.Entitlement to More Than One Social Security Benefit at the Same Time

733.1Can you be entitled to more than one Social Security benefit at the same time?

Yes. You may be entitled to more than one benefit at the same time. For example, a person can be entitled to parent's insurance benefits on a deceased child's Social Security earnings record and to spouse's insurance benefits on another record.

733.2If you are entitled to more than one benefit, which one is payable?

If you are entitled to more than one benefit, only the higher benefit is payable, unless one of the benefits is either: (1) a retirement or disability insurance benefit (see §734); or (2) both benefits are child's insurance benefits (see §735).

The lower benefit cannot be paid even if the higher benefit is not payable due to a suspension or deduction reason. However, if the higher benefit is terminated, the lower benefit will be automatically reinstated if you are still entitled to it.

Example: Mrs. Alicen is entitled to a spouse's insurance benefit of $102.10 and a parent's insurance benefit of $94.40. Her spouse's insurance benefit is suspended for several months because of her husband's work. Mrs. Alicen cannot be paid a parent's insurance benefit for these months. However, if she and her husband get divorced and she cannot meet the requirements for receiving benefits as a divorced spouse (see §311), her entitlement to spouse's insurance benefits is terminated. If she is still entitled to parent's insurance benefits, these will be paid to her, effective the month her spouse's insurance benefits terminate.

Last Revised: Sep. 22, 2003