5 More Facts You Might Not Know About Social Security

July 26, 2018 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: August 19, 2021

What kind of questions do you and your friends ask about Social Security? When do my benefits arrive? What are Social Security work credits, and do they have anything to do with the way my benefits are figured? Will I be automatically enrolled in Medicare? Read on to find the answers to these questions.

1. Social Security benefits are paid in the month following the month for which they are due.

When you meet all the requirements for eligibility, the benefit check you receive is payment for the prior month’s benefits. For information on the payment of benefits, you can read our pamphlet, What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits.

To know when checks will be paid, you can save the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments to your “Favorites” or print it.

2. We don’t pay benefits for the month of death.

Social Security uses the same throughout-the-month rule to determine eligibility for the benefit that is due for the month of death. You must live through the full month to be eligible for the payment. See the pamphlet above in the section titled If a beneficiary dies for more information about when a check is due.

3. Survivors benefits can replace a percentage of the worker’s earnings for family members.

The eligible family members of a retired or disabled beneficiary may receive a monthly payment of up to 50 percent of beneficiary’s amount. Survivors benefits usually range from about 75 percent to 100 percent of the deceased worker’s amount. Visit our Understanding the Benefits publication for an explanation of the amounts family members receive.

4. Work credits determine eligibility for benefits, but your lifetime earnings are used to calculate your monthly benefit amount.

Retired workers need 40 work credits to be eligible for benefits, but your work credits alone do not determine how much you will receive each month. When we figure your retirement benefit, we use the average of your highest 35 years of earnings. See Your Retirement Benefit: How It Is Figured for more information

5. If you receive retirement benefits before you reach age 65, you will be automatically enrolled in Medicare.

Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) helps pay for inpatient care in a hospital or skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay. It also pays for some home health care and hospice care. Medicare Part B (medical insurance) helps pay for services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, durable medical equipment, and some preventative services. When you’re already receiving retirement benefits, we automatically sign you up for Medicare Parts A and B when you turn age 65. You can then decline Part B if you choose, since it requires a monthly premium. If you are not receiving retirement benefits as you approach age 65, you should contact Social Security three months before age 65 to sign up for Medicare Part A and B. Even if you don’t want to retire at 65, you should sign up for Medicare only. For more details, check out our Medicare page.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. John T.

    I sent in a couple of questions several months ago and still have not received an answer. I know your are extremely busy, however my wife and I are still needing an answer.
    I am 70 she is 75, she has file on my SS while i was a teacher, I have now retired. I have be re-employed with Oklahoma County Clerk’s office making more money than teaching. Can she refile and get a higher portion under the new salary?

    • Jay H.

      If your new wages are higher than any of your highest 35 years wages (inflation adjusted) then your benefit will be increased and so will hers. If hers does not show the increase call the Social Security line and ask them for it….it should automatically increase though.

  2. Debra R.

    This was enlightening for me . I do have a question I get Social Security I think because of my husband I did not have enough quarters to get mine it’s only 500 dollars if my husband would die would I get anymore or not because I have already drew this money he gets over a thousand is there a way I can find this information out

    • Jay H.

      You will get his full amount when he dies if you took yours after your full retirement age. If you took yours prior to full retirement age then his amount you receive will be discounted accordingly. An example would be if you took yours at age 62 and yours would be discounted by 25% off your full retirement age so his would also be discounted by that amount once he dies and you take it. If his was $1000 you get $750.

  3. Donna M.

    My 1st husband passed away the end of the month he got his 1st check, we were broke so we paid bills then because there was 3 days left in the month he passed they took money we didn’t have out of our account which made all our bills bounce how can that be right? Luckly we live in a small town and the bank did not penalize us. After my 1st husband passed a year or so later I was contacted by my 1st love we got married and he was already drawing Social Security benefits. I found out later he had COPD the end stages, I had good insurance and he got a double lung transplant after he got to filling up to it he went back to Florida to spend a little time with his children while he was there he fell and broke his neck and passed away his children had him buried and never let his family, myself and 2 sisters of the event meanwhile the oldest daughter convinced me he didn’t want to come back here so I filed the divorce papers she was the one giving the OK on the divorce. Long story short can I draw off of either deceased husband?

    • Ray F.

      Hello Donna. A widow of persons who worked long enough under Social Security is eligible for benefits at age 60 (age 50 if disabled). It is possible for a person to be eligible to benefits under multiple records at the same time. However, we are only going to pay the highest benefit amount from one of those records – meaning that you will only be allowed to receive one payment.
      See our Benefits Planner: If You Are The Survivor for more information. Thanks!

  4. Lisa C.

    How much do I get, and when do my benefits start?

    • Snarky

      Personnal nebulous questions cannot be answered on a public blog. But if you insist on an answer, you’ll get $1.26 and it will come the day after next week.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Lisa. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot answer your question at this time.
      Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Generally, you will have a shorter wait time if you call later during the day or later in the week. Thanks!

  5. Teresa F.

    I have been on SSA for many years. I just relocated and can no longer log in. I tried everything just to change the PW if necessary. They just do not listen.
    Why is this after all these years to have to put up with those you hire.

    • Snarky

      Call 1-800-772 1213

  6. Beverly W.

    How can I find out how much of the Social Security benefit I am now getting is from my deceased husband’s account and my own account? Thanks.

    • Snarky

      Why do you need to know this? It makes no difference what % comes from what.

  7. Angie M.

    If a person is still working at age 65 (and older) why do they have to go on Medicare? Can they stay on their employer’s medical benefits?
    Just curious, as I would think it would reduce govt medicare costs with less people using it, if they still worked.

    • Snarky

      You don’t have to go on Medicare at 65, you can stay on your employer’s plan.

      • Elizabeth L.

        Unless your employer boots you off his plan, then you have to go on Medicare.

      • cherie

        but you do HAVE to go on medicare eventually. I HAD to go on medicare and take social security when I turned 70! even tho’ I’m still working. it helped to wait until I had to. I still have benefits from my employer, maybe I am one of the lucky few!

        • Jay

          I can’t see anything lucky about working after 70 myself. Just teasing.:>)

  8. Marilyn C.

    Received an increase of 3% for 2borrow from cre018 however did not change my monthly earnings of $1049. as it was put into medicare. I have to boat a much rrow from credit cards to manage as it is. Now owe over $20,000.
    Do wish that I could borrow from the government at a low interest rate, then could pay off bloody high credit card rates, or wish the government would control credit card companies rates.

    • Snarky

      Move to a Socialist country where you don’t have to fend for yourself.

      • Ray F.

        Our blog — Social Security Matters — gives readers information about a variety of topics, including our programs, online services, current events, and human-interest stories, usually in greater detail than typically shared on our other social media platforms.
        Our blog encourages discussion and offers important retirement and disability-related solutions. While we welcome general participation from all of our followers, we ask all participants to please be considerate and polite to others when posting comments. Thanks!

        • Pamela W.

          My husband and I are both 65 or older. We are both disabled, he receives SS disability and I receive workers comp. We also have custody of, (and are raising) a disabled grandchild. How much, if any, are we eligible to receive of the stimulus?

  9. Dawn E.

    I have been married to my husband for 14 years. He has another wife who was married to him for appro. 21 years. When he reaches retirement age 62 do we get any assistance if we are not together with him.

    • Snarky


  10. Nancy W.

    How can I find out if Social Security is paying me the correct amount I have earned?

    • Snarky

      Ask them!

      • tmarty

        Look up the formula and calculate your benefit yourself.

Comments are closed.