Adjustment of Monthly Benefits Under the Family Maximum Provisions

Date: 
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Report Number: 
A-09-13-13087
Report Type: 
Audit Report
Office Affiliation: 

The Social Security Act limits the amount of benefits payable to child and spousal beneficiaries on a Social Security record. If the total monthly benefits of all child and spousal beneficiaries exceed the maximum, SSA must reduce their payments to keep the total benefits within the family maximum provisions.

Individuals may be entitled to more than one type of benefit. When individuals are entitled to retirement and spousal benefits, SSA must only consider the amount of spousal benefits actually payable when adjusting monthly benefit amounts under the family maximum provisions. The family maximum may be higher if a child is entitled to benefits on both parents’ records. Finally, spouses may receive higher benefits if they have an entitled child in their care who is under age 16 or disabled.

In this audit, we sought to determine whether SSA correctly adjusted child and spousal benefits in accordance with the family maximum provisions when spousal beneficiaries were dually entitled.