Chris Stein, CFP®
When Does the Check Arrive?
OK… technically the Social Security Administration (SSA) doesn’t send checks out any more; they use electronic deposits. If you’re expecting your SS retirement benefit however, it would be nice to know when you’ll get your money, right?
Before you can receive your benefit, you have to file for it, and the very earliest you can file for your benefit is when you are 61 years and 9 months old. You can file any time after that, up to age 70, but no matter what age you are when you file, its recommend that you get your paperwork in three months before you want to receive your first benefit payment. For those who want to file at age 62, remember you are not eligible for benefits until the month you are 62 for the entire month. Folks born on the first or second of the month are eligible that month. Folks born after the 2nd are eligible the following month.
When Do You Get Your Money?
So when do you get your money? After you’ve filed your claim and been approved for your benefit, the SSA can start sending you your benefit payment. These payments are sent out the month after you are owed, so each month you are actually being paid for your benefit from the prior month. Typically the SSA sends out payments either the 2nd, 3rd or 4th Wednesday of the month, and the Wednesday you receive your payment will depend on your birthday. Folks born between the 1st and 10th of the month will receive their deposit on the second Wednesday. Folks with birthdays between the 11th and 20th will receive their deposits the 3rd Wednesday,and folks with birthdays between the 21st and the end of the month will have their deposits on the fourth Wednesday. For those just turning 62 and planning to claim, this deposit schedule can cause a small delay for your very first deposit. Assume you turn 62 on June 21st. Your first month of eligibility is in July and since you were born on the 21st you will be paid your July check on the 3rd Wednesday in August. So your first deposit will not arrive for essentially a full 2 months after you actually turn 62.
For those folks living on a tighter budget, understanding the timing of your benefits can be very important, but even if your budget has a little wiggle room, it’s always nice to know when you’ll be receiving money that is owed to you. The timing of your retirement benefits can be a bit confusing. If you’d like to hear more about this topic, please use the play button below.
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