Knowing the Social Security payment schedule can help you plan your retirement properly because it’ll help you plan based on how much you’re receiving as a monthly income. Here’s a guide to help you plan around your Social Security calendar.
In this article:
- Social Security Payment Schedule
- When and How to Apply for Social Security
- Exceptions to Receiving Social Security Payments on Schedule
- Practical Application of the Payment Schedule
- How Are the Social Security Checks Sent?
- What Should I Do If My Social Security Checks Are Late?
- What Is the Maximum Social Security Benefit?
Social Security Payment Schedule: What Retirees Should Know
Social Security Payment Schedule
Knowing the schedule of your Social Security benefit payment can help you plan your expenses. But, when should you expect your check to arrive?
Typically, a retiree can expect their Social Security check on a specific Wednesday of the month based on their birthday.
Generally speaking, this is how the Social Security payment calendar is structured based on birthdate:
- Those born on the 1st to the 10th of the month will receive Social Security check on the second Wednesday.
- If your birthday falls on the 11th to the 20th, you’ll receive Social Security check on the third Wednesday
- Those born on the 21st to the 31st will receive their Social Security check on the fourth Wednesday.
That means retirees should expect that no Social Security benefits will come in during the 1st or 5th Wednesday.
If you want a more specific calendar, check the official Social Security payment schedule.
When and How to Apply for Social Security
Not sure when you’re supposed to apply for Social Security, and how exactly? Here’s what you need to know about the qualifications on when and how to apply for Social Security.
- The earliest age a retiree can apply for Social Security benefits is 61 years old and 9 months.
- Getting benefits before reaching the retirement age of 65 can lead to the Social Security income to go down by around 0.55%.
- The typical retirement age falls within 65 to 67.
Personal circumstances, like divorce, can affect Social Security benefits.
Important: Generally speaking, the later you start receiving Social Security benefits, the higher your total benefits will be. Taking the benefits at the youngest eligible age (62) can lower the benefits while preempting until the oldest eligible age (70) can increase the benefits by 8%, which is quite significant.
For those who are applying for Social Security benefits at 62 years old, it’s ideal to have emergency funds on hand since the process from application to receipt of funds can take a month.
Remember, generally speaking, a retiree can get Social Security benefits upon eligibility, which means retiring at 66 means faster receipt of the first check. For those who opt to have an earlier retirement, there may be some delay for the first check, but succeeding checks usually are on time.
Exceptions to Receiving Social Security Payments on Schedule
The exceptions to the payment schedule are:
- If the Wednesday of your payment day falls on a holiday, the government deposits the check the day before.
- Retirees who started receiving benefits before 1997 will receive their Social Security check on the 3rd of the month.
- Those receiving both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security benefits will also receive their payment on the 3rd of the month.
What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? This refers to the benefits the government provides to those with disabilities who need income for clothing, rent, and food.
Usually called “Social Security disability payments,” these checks are provided on top of Social Security. Those who qualify for SSI benefits include:
- Children with disabilities
- Adults with disabilities
- Those 65 and older who don’t have disabilities but meet the financial limits may qualify for SSI benefits too.
Practical Application of the Payment Schedule
To give you a better overview of how the payment calendar works, here are three examples using the same birthday (January 25.)
- If you’re receiving only Social Security: The government will send the Social Security check on the third Wednesday.
- For those receiving both SSI and Social Security benefits: You’ll receive both the Social Security check and the disability assistance on the 3rd of the month.
In the event that the third Wednesday or the 3rd of the month falls on a holiday, you can expect your benefit/s the day before the holiday.
How Are the Social Security Checks Sent?
The retiree can get their Social Security checks from either:
- Direct deposit of checks to a bank account
- Direct express debit card
In the past, Social Security checks were sent by mail. However, this system stopped on March 1, 2013, which minimized lost checks.
For direct deposit, the system is pretty straightforward. The government simply sends the money electronically to your bank account.
However, do check if the bank has any fees for transactions like these as these fees can eat into your income. Also, make sure not to overdraft your account, which can sometimes happen if the government sent it a bit late and the automatic payment tries to get funds.
For retirees who opt to use a direct express debit card, they can use their Social Security funds like an electronic wallet. Quite a number of retirees use the debit card option since they can record and directly control how they spend their cash.
If you want more specific information, you can check the Go Direct website.
What Should I Do If My Social Security Checks Are Late?
All inquiries about missed payments should go to 1-800-772-1213. Again, the government sends the check on the day or the previous day, so if there are late payments, you may want to talk to the government right away.
If you need to personally go to a physical office, you can find the nearest Social Security office with the Social Security Administration Office Finder.
What Is the Maximum Social Security Benefit?
For those who can wait until age 70 to start getting benefits, the maximum you can get is $3,770.
Retirees who opt to take Social Security benefits at full retirement age, which is currently 66, can get $2,681 per month.
Again, these figures are as of 2019. The maximum monthly benefit depends on the rules and regulations of the Social Security Administration.
Your pension, Social Security and nest egg all affect your retirement expenses and income. By doing proper financial preparation, you can also choose to diversify your retirement income outside of just the Social Security benefits.
Do you have any questions about the Social Security payment schedule? Are you planning on getting both Social Security and disability benefits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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