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Dependent parents survivor benefit

My two kids get survivor benefit from my husband's death but the total amount they get is far below the max of family benefit. It seems my parents in-law are qualified for survivor benefit too. If they apply, do we get more than what we get today totally for my family? I just want to get as much as possible my husband had earned.

How to determine the amount my in-laws will get and how long can they get?

Appreciate your answer.

Updated : April 22, 2011 by Guest

Comments

Dependent parent survivor benefits and family maximum

April 23, 2011 by David Luhman

I would verify with the SSA for your particular case. The issue of family maximum can be a bit complex. Also, benefits for dependent parents is relatively rare, and I couldn't find much information on it.

Dependent parents can receive survivor benefits if they are age 62 or older. For parents to qualify as dependents, you would have had to ­provide at least one-half of their support. I assume support can be demonstrated if you claimed the parents as dependents on your tax returns.

http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html#2

As far as the family maximum and what you might expect to receive, I pulled up the following typical case from the SSA's quick calculator :

http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/index.html

Survivors                              Monthly benefit amount
---------                              ----------------------
Your child                             $856.00
Your spouse caring for your child      $856.00
Your spouse at normal retirement age   $1,141.00
Family maximum 	                       $1,938.40

Based on this I could see your two children getting a combined benefit of around $1,500 monthly ($750 each), leaving about $400 under the family maximum.

So if the parents received survivor benefits, I could see each child getting $650 and the parents $650 for a total monthly benefit of $1,950 (family maximum).

So the benefit for your children would fall, but benefits for the entire family would increase by $450 (up from $1,500).

I did not see a "time limit" for parental benefits. This is unlike the children which have a limit of age 19 / high school graduation unless disabled.

However, for the parents, the calculus may change if they do or will receive Social Security benefits based on their own work record. I couldn't find specifics on this for dependent parent benefits, but in general Social Security only pays the highest single benefit - not a sum of several benefits. So if, for example, the parents could qualify for $1,000 in retirement benefits based on their work record, it may not be worthwhile applying for survivor benefits as a dependent parent.

Again, check with Social Security for your case.

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