What are the different types of Social Security benefits?
‘Social Security benefits’ is an umbrella term which includes retirement benefits, spousal benefits, survivor benefits, and disability benefits.
Can I collect two benefits? If you are eligible to collect more than one benefit, you will only be able to receive the amount equal to the higher benefit. For example, if you are eligible for your own retirement benefit as well as a spousal benefit, you will receive the amount that is the higher of the two benefits.
What about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits? The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a federal program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). It provides monthly payments to adults and children with disabilities or blindness, to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter if their income and resources are below specific financial limits. You may be eligible to receive SSI monthly payments even if you are already receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits.
Can I choose which benefit I receive? You will not get to choose because of a rule called “deemed filing.” When you file for a benefit, you are deemed to be filing for all of your eligible benefits. The Social Security Administration will give you the highest of the benefits you are eligible for. There are two exceptions to this rule. One is filing a “restricted application,” but this is only available to those born in 1953 or earlier. The other exception is to those who are eligible for survivor benefits. You can receive survivor benefits while waiting to file for your own benefit.
What is a family maximum benefit? Sometimes there are multiple family members receiving benefits based on the retiree’s earnings, such as widow(er)s and children. The total of family benefits may not exceed the family maximum benefit threshold.