Q. My son, daughter and I receive Soc. Sec. survivor benefits since my husband’s death.  My son will turn 18 in April and will no longer receive a check.  Will my daughter’s check increase at that time?  I have a part-time job, but have a $54,000 income limit for my own benefit.  It will be a challenge to stay within that limit and still care for a young child and college student. 

A. Your son will remain eligible for a dependent child benefit until age 18, age 19 if still in high school. When his benefit ends, your caregiver benefit and your daughter’s dependent child benefit will increase, but your combined benefits will not be as much as your family now receives.

There is a family maximum payable on any wage earner’s Social Security earnings record. The retired and survivor family maximum varies, but ranges from 150 to 180 percent of the deceased wage earner’s primary benefit. When there are more than two surviving dependents, the family maximum is divided equally between all eligible beneficiaries. When there are only two eligible dependents, each receives 75 percent of the primary benefit or a combined 150 percent of the primary benefit.