When Will My Social Security Check Arrive?

The Social Security check schedule depends on your day of birth.

Social Security check between hundred dollar bills.
The Social Security check schedule depends on your day of birth. Anthony Bradshaw

Social Security checks are deposited on the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on your day of birth. The Social Security check schedule works as follows:

If you were born on the:

  • 1st–10th of the month: Expect your Social Security check to be deposited on the 2nd Wednesday of each month.
     
  • 11th–20th of the month: Expect your Social Security check to be deposited on the 3rd Wednesday of each month.
     
  • 21st–31st of the month: Expect your Social Security check to be deposited on the 4th Wednesday of each month.

Exceptions to When Social Security Checks Arrive

For every rule, there are always exceptions. If you fall into one of the categories below, your check may arrive on an alternate schedule.

  • You started receiving benefits before 1997: Your Social Security check is paid on the third day of the month. You can request to change this according to the day of birth schedule above.
     
  • You are receiving both Social Security benefits and SSI payments: Expect your Social Security check to be deposited on the third day of the month.
     
  • Holiday exceptions: If the day your Social Security check is supposed to be deposited is a holiday, your check will be deposited the previous day.
     

The full schedule can be found on the 2017 Social Security Check Schedule Calendar.

When Will I Receive My First Social Security Payment?

Social Security retirement benefits (as well as disability and survivor benefits) are paid the month after you are eligible for them.

If you filed for your benefits and determined your first month of Social Security benefits is May, you would expect your first direct deposit to occur in June, on the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of the month according to the day of birth schedule at the top of this article.

The one exception to this is if you file at age 62.

 At age 62, if you turn 62 on the 1st or 2nd of the month, you will be eligible for benefits for that month, but if you turn 62 after the 2nd of the month, you won’t be eligible until 62 and 1 month. This funky provision does not apply to other ages. Social Security puts it this way. "Those born on the 1st are considered to have attained age 62 on the last day of the preceding month; those born on the 2nd are considered to have attained age 62 on the first day of their birthday month. Both could be entitled to benefits for the month of their 62nd birthday." Source - Who is 62 Enough?

For example, if you were born on the 15th of March and turning age 66, you will be considered to have reached age 66 and be eligible for a benefit the entire month of March even if you turn 66 in the middle of the month. However, if you were to file for benefits at 62, you would not be eligible until April, as according to the Social Security rules, you had not attained the age of 62 by March.

Electronic Delivery of Social Security Payments

As of March 1, 2013, Social Security stopped mailing paper checks. There are two ways you can receive your benefits:

1. Direct deposit of your Social Security checks. This option puts them right into your bank account on the day they are paid.

You don’t have to worry about your check being lost or worry that funds will not get to the bank in time if you are out of town. Sign up or learn more at Frequently Asked Questions About Social Security Direct Deposit.

2. Direct Express® Debit Card - If you do not sign up for direct deposit, your benefits will be paid to you via Direct Express® debit card option. This card will work anywhere that takes Debit Mastercard®. You can also use your Direct Express® debit card to get cash back at the grocery store or to purchase money orders at the post office. Learn more at Direct Express® Debit Card.

Not sure what to do? To help you with this transition a website called GoDirect has been created. It will walk you through your Social Security check choices.

My Social Security Check Is Late. What Do I Do?

If you receive your Social Security check by mail, wait a few days after you would normally receive to see if it is late due to a delay in mail service.

If it does not arrive after a few days, to report a lost, missing or stolen check call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213, or find a Social Security office location near you.

If you receive your Social Security check by direct deposit it should arrive on its due date, or the day before if the due date is a holiday. If you discover a direct deposit did not occur on time contact Social Security at 1-800-772-1213.

For more info on lost Social Security checks see: Report a Missing Social Security Check.

Avoid Social Security Check Delays

The best way to avoid problems with receiving your Social Security check on time is to have your check deposited directly into a bank account each month. See Start, Change or Cancel Social Security Direct Deposit to get this setup.

Stop Social Security Checks

Once you have started receiving Social Security benefits you cannot easily change your mind. You may be able to stop Social Security benefits if it has been less than 12 months since you filed.