When Will My Social Security Payment Arrive?

The payment schedule for benefits depends on your birthday.

© The Balance, 2018

Social Security benefit payments are deposited on the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on your day of birth. 

If you were born on the:

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

Exceptions to Normal Schedule

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

  • You're a child or spouse who receives benefits based on someone else’s work record: Your payment is on the same day as that person.
  • You started receiving benefits before May 1997: Your payment is made 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 Supplemental Security Income payments: Your payment is made on the third day of the month.
  • Holiday exceptions: If the day your payment should be made falls on a federal holiday, it will come the weekday just before.

Calendars can be found on the Social Security Administration's website: Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments 2019 and Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments 2020.

When Will I Receive My First Payment?

Social Security retirement benefits (as well as disability and survivor benefits) are paid a month late. So, if your first month of benefits is due 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 above.

Electronic Delivery of Payments

The Social Security Administration no longer mails paper checks, though many still refer to the payments as Social Security checks. There are two ways you can receive your benefits:

  1. Direct deposit: Payments are automatically posted into your bank account on your payment day.
  2. Direct Express Debit Card: If you don't have a bank account or don't sign up for direct deposit, your benefits will be paid via a Direct Express debit card. Payments are automatically posted to your card account on your payment day. The card works anywhere that takes Debit Mastercard and you can use it to get cash at ATMs, cash back at the grocery store, or to set up automatic payment of your monthly bills.

What If My Payment Doesn't Come?

If your direct deposit or debit card funds aren't made on time, contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or find a Social Security office near you.

Article Sources

  1. Social Security Administration. "Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments 2019," Accessed Oct. 2, 2019.


  2. Social Security Administration. "What Day of the Month Do I Get My Social Security Payment?" Accessed Oct. 2, 2019.


  3. Social Security Administration. "Benefits Planner: Retirement. When to Start Your Benefits," Accessed Oct. 2, 2019.


  4. Social Security Administration. "Get Your Payments Electronically," Accessed Oct. 2, 2019.