Understanding the Social Security Family Maximum

by Kathleen Romig and Dave Shoffner
Social Security Bulletin, Vol. 75, No. 3, 2015
Table equivalent for Chart 1. OASI and DI family maximum amounts and PIA as percentages of AIME, 2015
AIME ($) OASI family maximum DI family maximum PIA
500 135.0 90.0 90.0
1,000 119.9 85.0 79.9
1,500 95.9 85.0 63.9
2,000 87.8 83.9 56.0
2,500 87.6 76.7 51.2
3,000 87.5 72.0 48.0
3,500 84.5 68.5 45.7
4,000 79.3 66.0 44.0
4,500 75.3 64.0 42.6
5,000 72.7 62.3 41.5
5,500 68.4 58.7 39.1
6,000 64.9 55.6 37.1
6,500 61.9 53.1 35.4
7,000 59.4 50.9 33.9
7,500 57.2 49.0 32.7
8,000 55.3 47.4 31.6
SOURCE: Authors' calculations.
NOTES: Formulas are based on 2015 rules, which apply to beneficiaries first eligible in 2015.
AIME = average indexed monthly earnings; DI = Disability Insurance; OASI = Old-Age and Survivors Insurance; PIA = primary insurance amount.
Table equivalent for Chart 2. Number of beneficiary families affected by family maximum rules, by number of eligible beneficiaries in the family, 2015
Family benefit type Three or more eligible beneficiaries Two eligible beneficiaries
Families of retired workers 222,738 0
Survivors of deceased workers 212,867 0
Families of disabled workers 910,863 526,808
SOURCE: Authors' estimates using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6.
NOTE: We categorized beneficiary families by size before applying the family maximum rules; in some cases, the auxiliary of a disabled worker may be otherwise eligible for a benefit that is not paid because of the family maximum rules. Such families are included in this chart.
Table equivalent for Chart 3. Median family benefit amounts before and after applying the family maximum rules among affected families, 2015
Family benefit type Before applying family maximum rules After applying family maximum rules
Families of retired workers 2,886 2,482
Survivors of deceased workers 3,584 2,401
Families of disabled workers 1,552 1,140
SOURCE: Authors' estimates using Modeling Income in the Near Term, Version 6.