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


123. Checks

123.1 What is your time limit for cashing Social Security checks?

Checks are issued with the words "VOID AFTER ONE YEAR" printed across the face of the check. If you have a check that you have not cashed past the one-year time limit, you will not be able to cash it. Contact a Social Security office to have the check reissued.

123.2 How are checks sent to beneficiaries living outside of the U.S.?

If you live outside the U.S., your check is mailed either from the U.S. Treasury Department or from a U.S. diplomatic or consular office in the country where you are living. In a few countries, special arrangements are made for check delivery. Because of the distance and additional handling involved, your checks are generally delivered somewhat later than if you were living in the U.S.

123.3 What should you do if you do not receive your check?

If you are living in the U.S. and you do not receive your check within three business days after it is usually mailed, contact the Social Security office right away. Also call the Social Security office if your check has been stolen, lost, destroyed, or forged. Be prepared to provide the Social Security office with the following information:

  1. The claim number (see §133) on which the benefit is being paid;

  2. The period of payment covered by the missing check (or checks); and

  3. The name and address which should be shown on the check.

123.4 How do you report a change of address?

If your address changes, report the change to Social Security right away. You can make your report by telephone, in writing, in person or on the SSA web-site. Provide your Social Security claim number and your old address, including the ZIP code, so that any check already printed can be found and sent to your new address. Also, notify the post office of your change of address to ensure prompt delivery of your check.

Note: If there is any doubt as to the authenticity of a telephone report, the Social Security office requests written confirmation from you.

Last Revised: Apr. 18, 2006

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There are 15 Comments

I am going to take my checking account out of my bank and want to have my check sent to me until I decide on another bank. Please help me. Thanks for any help that you can give me. Sharon K. S

We are not affiliated with the SSA, so take this with a grain of salt.

Some benefits, especially survivor benefits, have a "family maximum" associated with them. Also, some benefits (especially SSI) may be cut upon marriage. However, your relationship with your friend does not seem to fit in these categories.

I have seen SSA audit techniques where they check benefit recipients who live at the same address. In this case, they were looking for folks who were in a common law marriage but not reporting it. Again, apparently dissimilar from your situation.

Still, it seems like your friend should report his real address to the SSA. Note the SSA requires you to report your new addresswhen you have moved.

i changed to a new payee, but I did not make the cut-off time to stop the check from going to the old payee acct. Now, my landlord is bugging, because my check has not arrived to pay my rent, so I am be threaten to pay... She knows it coming! she speaks to my payee everyday, cking her mail constantly,, now her unit is \being upgraded by the Housing commission, so, they are giving me temp housing, but now she says I can not move in to the temp housing until, the rent is paid..can she do that, when I offically have not been evicted or thrown out...

If I wanted to get married, would that affect mine and his SSI bennifets and medical? I have RA and he has his reasons to be on it. I am concerned about this please help.

If your back pay due is large, Social Security usually is required to issue large past-due benefits in up to three installments, six months apart.

I am not sure when SSI monthly benefits can begin. There is a a five-month waiting period for "standard" disability benefits, but I am not sure if this waiting period applies to SSI.

Social Security does make "expedited" payments in some cases, and you may want to see if this affects you.

I need to check if Feburary 2012 check (blue envelope) check has
been cashed yet, and the same for March 2012

To report a late, missing, or stolen check, contact us at 1-800-772-1213.

If the Department of the Treasury’s records show a beneficiary did not cash a check, it returns the funds to SSA in the form of a limited payability credit in the 15th month after the check’s issue date. SSA sends a letter to the beneficiary inquiring if the check was received and cashed. SSA reviews the records of beneficiaries who respond to the letter, and if appropriate, reissues the checked. If the beneficiary does not respond to the letter or indicates a cashed payment, no action is required.

i would like my direct deposit to go to my trust account,instead of my personal account, what is
needed by me.

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