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Payment Dates

Excerpted from "Social Security Handbook". See the up-to-date, official Social Security Handbook at


121. Payment Dates

121.1 When are your payment days if you filed for benefits before May 1, 1997?

Social Security payments are usually dated and delivered on the third day of the month following the month for which the payment is due. For example, payments for January are delivered on February 3. If the third of the month is a Saturday, Sunday or Federal holiday, payments are dated and delivered on the first day preceding the third of the month which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday. For example, if the third is a Saturday or Sunday, payments are delivered on the preceding Friday.

121.2 When are your payment days if you filed for benefits on or after May 1, 1997?

If you file for Social Security benefits May 1, 1997, or later, you are assigned one of three new payment days based on the date of birth of the person on whose record your entitlement is established (the insured individual):

  1. The payment day for insured individuals born on the 1st through the 10th of the month is the second Wednesday of each month;

  2. The payment day for insured individuals born on the 11th through the 20th of the month is the third Wednesday of each month; and

  3. The payment day for insured individuals born after the 20th of the month is the fourth Wednesday of each month.

If the scheduled Wednesday payment day is a Federal holiday, payment is made on the preceding day that is not a Federal holiday.

121.3 When are you paid on the 3rd of the month, even if you file for benefits on or after May 1, 1997?

You will receive your Social Security payment on the third of the month if you are any of the following:

  1. A beneficiary who also receives SSI payment;

  2. A beneficiary whose income is deemed to an SSI recipient;

  3. A beneficiary whose Medicare premiums are paid for by the state in which you live;

  4. A beneficiary living in a foreign country;

  5. A beneficiary entitled to payments on the third of the month, who later became entitled on another record, as long as there is no break in your entitlement;

  6. A recipient of garnished payments, tax levy case payments, or payments made via the critical payment system.

  7. A beneficiary entitled on the same record as one of the above.

121.4 Can payment days be changed?

If you are paid on the third of the month, you can volunteer to change your payment day as long as all beneficiaries receiving benefits on your record agree. The date-of-birth formula determines the payment cycle for beneficiaries. The decision to change to a cycled payment day is permanent.

121.5 When are the payment days for SSI?

SSI payments are usually dated and delivered on the first day of the month that they are due. However, if the first falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday, they are dated and delivered on the first day preceding the first of the month that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or Federal holiday.

Last Revised: Apr. 18, 2006

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There are 13 Comments

I am one receiving my Soc Sec check on the second Wednesday of the month. This is terrible for me, keeps me off balance for some reason. Also, in counting the days between checks, this pay period was 35 days until I get another check, some are 28-30 days. This is not right, this is simply helping Soc Sec Adm make more money on interest by keeping the money longer, never mind that people are living from paycheck to paycheck and having a hard time. However, rules say this cannot be changed......this is one more form of hardship for seniors and the poor...............

Social Security benefits are paid each month, but for the previous month. For example the check received in June is for the month of May.

When you applied for benefits, your benefit award notice told you when you can expect to receive your benefit payment. Generally, the day in the month on which you receive your benefit depends on the birth date of the person on whose record you receive benefits. For example, if you receive benefits as a retired or disabled worker, your benefit will be determined by your birth date. If you receive benefits as a spouse, your benefit payment date will be determined by your spouse's birth date.

Here's how it works:
Birth date on Benefits paid on
1st - 10th Second Wednesday
11th - 20th Third Wednesday
21st - 31st Fourth Wednesday

For example, your date of birth is June 16. Your monthly retirement check will be paid on the third Wednesday of every month.

For a calendar showing payment dates, see the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments.

You can also see this :

I recently received a notice indicating that if I get my social security check on January 20th I will now get it on January 27, 2010??? There is some confusion because I have never received a previous notice of such. Does this mean that social security has changed my check date up one week???

I receive benefits monthly from Social Security, I work part time and recently received the amount I will receive in 2010. However, it does not include the amount I paid into Social Security for 2009. The monthly amount sent to me was also the amount listed for 2009. It should have shown that I paid in at least $850.00.

You should receive form SSA-1099 for benefits received last year. Form SSA-1099 is used to report to you any Social Security benefits that you may have collected during the year. Form SSA-1099 for tax year 2009 will be mailed by January 31, 2010.

To find out how much you paid in Social Security taxes, you can request a Social Security Statement. This statement includes a record of your earnings history and an estimate of how much you and your employer paid in Social Security taxes. It also has estimates of benefits you (and your family) may be eligible for now and in the future.

Here's how to request this statement online :

I was told to bring this to sign up for Social Security benefits. Just wondering why dd214 is needed.

I want to start collecting Soc. Sec. Retirement benefits Jan. 2011. First payment will be received 1/26/2011. (4th Wednesday of month)

SSA rep. said I will receive an SSA-1099 for 2010 since the payment is for December 2010? It doesn't seem right to received an SSA-1099 for 2010, when I did not have access to this money until late January 2011.

Could someone confirm that a 1099 will be issued for 2010 even though payment wasn't received until 2011.

Yes, as you noted, Social Security benefits are normally paid in arrears (after-the-fact). For example the payment received in January is for the month of December.

I couldn't find a direct answer to your question, but benefit income being reported on a 2010 SSA-1099 in your case is possible under the principle of constructive receipt.

From IRS Publication 17 ( :

Constructive receipt : Generally, you constructively receive income when it is credited to your account or set apart in any way that makes it available to you. You do not need to have physical possession of it. For example, interest credited to your bank account on December 31, 2009, is taxable income to you in 2009 if you could have withdrawn it in 2009 (even if the amount is not entered in your passbook or withdrawn until 2010).

Arguably, in December 2010, the payment will become your "property right" (and thus, income to you) although it had not yet been delivered to you.

they cut my check and i lost 150.00 and ionly i have live on that for 1 whole month .wish you people at ssi try to live on what you gave me a month. YOU WOULD NEVER BE ABLE TO LIVE ON IT ,YOU BE CRING THE BLUES .

My daughter was signed up for survivors benefits r/t her fathers suicide... applied on oct 4, 2011...having major financial issues with no child support for 2 months now,,, daughter having major psychological issues and no money for medical bills... my income is suffering because of having to stay home with her.. I was told the amount of payments and that would receive check for sept and oct then monthly haven't received anything yet.. not even a letter... How long does it take before you start receiving after applying?? Thank you

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