What Day Does Your Social Security Arrive?

Monthly Social Security payments once all arrived on the same day across the nation.  No more.  Now they arrive on different days of the month.   

Most people starting Social Security since 1997 receive their routine benefits on one of four days throughout the month: on the third of the month and on the second, third and fourth Wednesdays of the month.   What day will yours arrive?  

With several exceptions, now Social Security payment dates are based on the number holder’s (NH) date of birth.  You are the NH if receiving Social Security on your own work record.  If receiving based on the work of someone else, that person is the NH.    

Therefore, if you receive Social Security retirement or disability through your own work, the payment date is based on your birth date.  A child or spouse receiving benefits on your record will also have a payment date based on your birth date.  A couple can receive SSA benefits on different days if each is receiving their own retirement.  

Benefits are generally paid on the second Wednesday if the NH was born within the first 10 days of a month, the third Wednesday if born within the 11-20th days and on the fourth Wednesday if born within the 21-31st days.  

Until 1997, all routine Social Security payments arrived on the third of a month. Unlike now, electronic banking was less popular.  Check day, actually that entire week, was always hectic.  People who needed to contact a SSA office found it difficult to do so.  Having only one SSA payment date for everyone created uneven workloads within Social Security, financial institutions and the Post Office.  Using multiple dates helps smooth out monthly workloads.

Not all Social Security payment dates are birth date based.  If you were receiving Social Security before May 1997, your payment date stayed the third of the month.  People eligible for both Social Security and SSI receive their SSI on the first and their Social Security on the third of the month.   

One more item about payments:  routine Social Security retirement, disability, and survivor benefits are paid in the following month, meaning the benefit for January arrives in February.   Routine Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are for the month paid so SSI arriving in February is for February.

The 2012 calendar of Social Security and SSI payment dates is at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/calendar2012.pdf.