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What Cash Benefits Do I Receive?

What are cash benefits?

Social Security administers two programs that provide cash benefits to people who have a disability: Title XVI and Title II.

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Title XVI: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a cash benefit available to people who are aged, blind, or disabled, have limited income and resources, and have little or no work history. This cash benefit is meant to help people pay for their food and shelter costs.

A combination of benefits

Some people qualify for more than one cash benefit. For example, a person might receive SSI and SSDI, or be eligible for SSDI and SSCDB, at the same time.

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Title II:

Title II includes three different disability-related benefits. All are based on a person working and earning enough work credits to be “insured” under Social Security.

What benefit do you receive?

A great way to identify what benefit you receive is to sign up for a mySSA account. There, you can log in and see what benefit(s) you are eligible for, learn if you are fully insured, and access other useful information. 

If you do not have a mySSA account, you can follow certain clues to identify what benefit you receive. You may need to read through a few of these clues to understand what you are eligible for.

When do you receive your cash benefit check?

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Carrie

Carrie gets one cash benefit that arrives on the 15th of the month. Which does she probably receive?

or

Title II. Because Carrie receives her check in the middle of the month, not on the first day, she probably receives a Title II benefit check.

How large is your cash benefit check?

In 2024, the maximum SSI amount you can receive is $943 per month. (Some states will add extra money to the SSI cash benefit. Only a small number of Washington residents are eligible for the extra money.) 

You may receive SSI but get less than the maximum SSI amount.

The size of a Title II benefit depends on a person’s work history. A Title II benefit amount can be anywhere between a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. If a person receives more than the full SSI amount by at least $20, they probably receive a Title II benefit.

Some people can receive both SSI and Title II. The combination of both will not be more than the full SSI check ($943) plus $20.

Juan

Juan receives a cash benefit of $943 per month. What does he likely receive?

or

SSI. Juan receives an amount equal to the full SSI benefit amount, so he likely receives SSI.

Krista

Krista receives a cash benefit of $1,600 each month. Do they receive SSI?

or

No. Because Krista receives a cash benefit which is much more than the full SSI benefit amount, they do not receive SSI. Krista probably receives a Title II benefit.

Tomas

Tomas received a cash benefit of $700 in March, and he is working. What cash benefit does he receive?

or

We don’t know. SSI and Title II cash benefits can be less than the full SSI amount. Since Tomas’ benefit is less than $943, we do not know what benefit he receives. We will revisit Tomas in the next clue.)

Does your benefit check amount go up and down each month when you report your monthly income?

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Tomas

Tomas received a cash benefit of $700 in March, and he is working. In April, Tomas’ cash benefit changed to $825. In May, Tomas’ cash benefit changed to $750. What cash benefit does he probably receive?

or

SSI. Tomas’ benefit is changing month to month. This change is probably due to Tom’s wages changing each month.  As Tom reports his monthly wages, Social Security adjusts his SSI amount, based on his income.

I think I receive a Title II benefit.
Which type do I get?

SSDI and SSCDB are common Title II benefits.

SSDI is based on your work history. If you have worked for at least 1½ years or longer, you may be eligible for a monthly SSDI cash benefit, based on your own work record.SSCDB is based on a parent’s work history. If you are over age 18 and have a disability which began prior to age 22, and your parent has either died; is retired and collecting Social Security benefits; or is disabled and collecting Social Security benefits, you may be eligible for SSCDB benefits.

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What benefit does each person receive?

Hanan

Hanan experiences a disability. She has been working part time for many years. She receives a cash benefit of $1,375 per month. Her parents are not retired nor disabled, and both are still living. Which benefit does she probably receive?

or

SSDI. 

  • Because Hanan’s parents are alive and not collecting Social Security benefits, Hanan would not qualify for SSCDB.  
  • Hanan has a work history. This means she has paid into Social Security and may have “insured status.” Hanan probably receives SSDI. 

Esther

Esther has had a disability since childhood. Esther is now 24 years old and receives a cash benefit of $1,630 per month. She has never worked. Her mother retired last year and is collecting Social Security benefits. Do you think Esther receives SSDI or SSCDB?

or

SSCDB.

  • Esther has never worked, so she would not qualify for SSDI. 
  • Esther is over age 18, she has a disability that started prior to age 22, and her mother is collecting a Social Security cash benefit. All signs point to Esther being eligible for SSCDB benefits.

Kai

Kai has had a disability since childhood. Kai is now 30 years old and receives two cash benefits totaling $1,490 per month. She has worked for four years. Her father retired last year and is collecting Social Security benefits. What do you think Kai receives

or

Possibly both SSDI and SSCDB. 

  • Kai has a work history, so she might qualify for SSDI. 
  • She has a disability that started prior to age 22, and her father retired and is collecting a Social Security cash benefit, so she might qualify for SSCDB. 
  • Kai also receives two benefit checks. There is a good chance she receives SSDI, based on her own work record, and SSCDB, based on her father’s work record.
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