Despite experimental evidences, the contributions of the concrete slab and composite action to the vertical shear strength of simply supported steel–concrete composite beams are not considered in current design codes, which lead to conservative designs. In this paper, the finite element method is used to investigate the flexural and shear strengths of simply supported composite beams under combined bending and shear. A three-dimensional finite element model has been developed to account for geometric and material nonlinear behavior of composite beams, and verified by experimental results. The verified finite element model is than employed to quantify the contributions of the concrete slab and composite action to the moment and shear capacities of composite beams. The effect of the degree of shear connection on the vertical shear strength of deep composite beams loaded in shear is studied. Design models for vertical shear strength including contributions from the concrete slab and composite action and for the ultimate moment–shear interaction are proposed for the design of simply supported composite beams in combined bending and shear. The proposed design models provide a consistent and economical design procedure for simply supported composite beams.