When Will My Social Security Check Arrive?

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

© The Balance, 2018

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 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 day before.

The full schedule can be found on the Social Security Administration website. 2019 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. If, when you filed, you determined your first month of Social Security benefits is in May, you can 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. If you turn 62 on the 1st or 2nd day of the month, you will be eligible for benefits for that month. However, if you turn 62 after the 2nd day of the month, you won’t be eligible until age 62 and one month. This provision does not apply to other ages.

For example, if you were turning age 66 on the 15th of March, you would be considered to have reached age 66, and be eligible for a benefit the entire month of March. However, if you were to file for benefits at 62 and you were born on the 15th, you would not be eligible until April (because you have to wait that extra month). 

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 deposits checks into your bank account on the day you 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.
  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 works 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. The Direct Express® Debit Card is a good option for people who want to marry their checks with their ability to make purchases.

    If you're not sure what to do, the GoDirect website will walk you through your Social Security check choices.

    What Do I Do If My Check Is Late?

    If you still receive your Social Security check by mail, wait a few days after you would normally receive it. Perhaps it was delayed in the mail. If it does not arrive after a few days, you can report a lost, missing, or stolen check by calling 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.

    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.

    Stop Social Security Checks

    Once you have started receiving Social Security benefits you cannot easily change your mind, unless it has been less than 12 months since you filed.