Can I Keep This Benefit Payment?

August 17, 2017 • By

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Last Updated: July 16, 2021

two women looking at laptopSocial Security is with you through life’s journey, securing today and tomorrow for millions of people. We know that reliability and dependability is an important part of your financial security. We use the same throughout the month eligibility rules for the first month’s Social Security check through the last month’s check, so it’s easy to know when checks are payable.

If you meet all the requirements to receive benefits, Social Security pays your benefit after you have lived throughout the month. At 62, the first month many people are eligible for benefits may be in the month after their birthday. Social Security follows an English law that says you actually reach your age the day before your birthday. So, if you were born on the first or second day of the month, your first month of eligibility will be your birthday month. If you were born on any other day in the month, the first month you could be eligible to receive benefits will be the month after your birthday month. When starting benefits after age 62, people are eligible to be paid for the month they file, since they were previously age 62 throughout the month.

For example, if Michael is born on June 1 or 2 and is age 62, he is eligible in June, and the first month he will receive his benefit payment is July. If Michael’s birthday is any other day in June, the first month he will be eligible for benefits is July and his first benefit will be paid in August. If Michael starts benefits at age 63 and files in June, he can be paid for June in July.

Benefits are always paid the following month for all types of Social Security benefits including retirement, disability and survivors.  This does not apply to Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Being eligible throughout the month also applies to the month of death of a Social Security beneficiary. To be eligible for the payment, the person must have lived all month long to receive the payment that comes the following month. That includes throughout the entire last day of the month.  Your survivor may be eligible for a payment for the last month and should contact us at 1-800-772-1213. For information about applying for survivors benefits, visit our Survivors Benefits page.

Understanding how the benefits are paid gives you a sense of certainty about your payments.

You’ll know how to plan when starting benefits and what happens to the last check. We continue to secure your today and tomorrow by providing the Social Security information you need.

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About the Author

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications

Jim Borland, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Communications


  1. Octavia S.

    I am 68, do I have to continue to pay into Social Security?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Octavia. Everyone working in covered employment or self-employment regardless of age or eligibility for benefits must pay Social Security taxes. Generally, if you continue to work while receiving retirement benefits, your monthly benefit amount could increase.
      Also, some people have to pay federal income taxes on their Social Security benefits. This usually happens only if you have other substantial income (such as wages, self-employment, interest, dividends and other taxable income that must be reported on your tax return) in addition to your benefits.
      For further income tax questions, you will need to contact the IRS. Their toll-free number is 1-800-829-1040. We hope this information helps!

  2. Leila M.

    Can you receive social security benefits while in half way house.

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your question, Leila. Generally, Social Security will not pay benefits while you reside in any facility under the authority of your state’s Department of Corrections. Even though you are no longer in prison, you are still under the control and custody of your state’s Department of Corrections until you complete your court-ordered sentence and you are officially released, or until the Department of Corrections places you on parole. See more at Benefits after Incarceration.

  3. Dayna

    ___123___Can I Keep This Benefit Payment? | Social Security Matterss___123___

  4. Linda B.

    Is their a whistle blower fee if you report someone who is really NOT disabled?

    • Ray F.

      Thank you for your concern, Linda. We take allegations of fraud very seriously. If you suspect fraud, waste or abuse of Social Security benefits, we encourage you to report it. You may remain anonymous, but please keep in mind that your decision for anonymity may limit our ability to conduct a complete investigation.

  5. Linda B.

    I am caring for my son who is disables. I have not worked and taking care of him full time. He is 45 years old. Is their a caretaker pay I can take out for him?

    • Ray F.

      Hi Linda. Individuals receiving disability benefits may also be eligible to receive social services from the state in which they live. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. Or you can visit the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information. We hope this helps!

  6. L. S.

    My ex-spouse of 17 years has been on disability for about 8-9 years. We divorced 1 year ago. I just turned 61 and he is 5 years younger than me. I still work but when I do retire, will I be able to claim his SSI or SSDI (not sure which he gets) or will I have to use my own SS? His benefit would be more than mine.

    • Ray F.

      If you are eligible for retirement benefits on your own record and divorced spouse’s benefits, we will pay the retirement benefit first. If the benefit on your ex-spouse’s record is higher, you will get an additional amount on your ex-spouse’s record so that the combination of benefits equals that higher amount. See our Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced for more important information. Thanks!

  7. Msabah R.

    I have age 62, i ask benefit payments, social security benefits , social security payments.

  8. steve j.

    We can help you find ways to stay focused on your retirement goals. Learn more … Explore Important
    Plan Updates and Announcements. Why Nationwide?

  9. Margaret G.

    It is unfair that we have worked all our lives and contributed to SS as well as our spouses and when we retire we can only claim one or the other. We should both be able to receive benefits from one another and people in general could live a better life. I work and i should receive mine and his and vice versa. It is not enough the money they distribute to us this is something that should be considered when they are making there budget since we do contribute and have worked hard and should be able to enjoy retirement.

  10. TheOldRanger

    I think if your income from other sources are more than $100,000 a year, you should not receive SS. I also think that SS should not be given to illegal aliens or to people who have never paid much of anything into the system. The politicians have raided SS funds for years and never paid them back. The US govt should ensure those funds are returned in full, plus interest, and no politician in office should receive any salary until it is paid back in full, and in addition, politicians should never get “retirement benefits for being in office” Someone can serve a 2-year term and get retirement benefits, and what other job can you get that will let you do that…. in addition, while they are in office, they are given “benefits” that we taxpayers would never get, plus a totally different medical package, etc…. which carries over to when they are no longer in office…. this is why they raided SS decades ago, and yet, never paid anything back into the system.

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