There are two types of Social Security Disability benefits. The first kind is called Title 2 by the Social Security Administration; the second kind is called Title 16 by the Social Security Administration.
When the Social Security Administration refers to these benefit programs, it is actually referring to the programs’ legal titles under the Social Security Act. It is important to know which type of benefits you are seeking because Social Security will pay you back pay for Title 2 benefits, but not for Title 16 benefits. The requirements for proving that you are disabled are the exact same for either program.
Title 2 benefits are benefits that you have to “pay into” – this happens usually by a payroll deduction. You may not have even noticed that this deduction was occurring. If you were paying attention, then you would have seen 15 cents for every Social Security tax dollar is put into the Social Security Trust Fund, rather than into the Social Security Retirement Trust Fund.
To qualify for Title 2 benefits, you need 20 out of 40 quarters of credits. One you have 20 out of 40 credits, you have “insured status.” At this point, you are likely asking “what the heck does this even mean?” This means that you need to have worked for the last 5 out of 10 years.
Title 16 benefits are for people that did not “pay into” the system. People applying for benefits under Title 16 will need to meet income requirements. That means that either you’ve never had income or your income when you were working didn’t earn you any work credits because your income was low. Title 16 benefits are paid out of general funds, which is a different source than Title 2 benefits.
If you are applying for Title 16 benefits, you will have to complete paperwork listing your resources. Resources are: cash, bank accounts, land, vehicles, personal property, life insurance, and anything else you own that could be converted to cash to pay for food and shelter. All of your resources need to be less than $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. If you are over $2,000 and would not qualify to apply for Title 2 benefits, you will, unfortunately, be out of luck.
Can you get both Title 2 and Title 16 benefits? Yes! Let’s say when you were working, you earned work credits, but because your income was low, your benefit amount for Title 2 benefits is only $200. You would be eligible for Title 16 benefits in the amount of $550.