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Social Security - Birth date can affect when you receive Social Security check

Q: Why do people receive Social Security payments on different days of the month?

A: Until 1997, all monthly Social Security payments arrived on the same day.

No more. Now they arrive on different days of the month to smooth out workloads.

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, Social Security payment dates depend 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 Social Security payment on different days if each is receiving their own retirement.

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

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 remained the third of the month.

People eligible for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) generally receive SSI on the first and their Social Security on the third of the month.

The 2013 schedule of payment dates for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is online at

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.

Based in Grand Forks, Howard I. Kossover is the Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for North Dakota and western Minnesota. Send general interest questions to him at You can also read his online articles at