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. Sue E.

    Can I change the date that I receive my SS check? It comes the 3rd Wed of the Mo. and my bills are due
    before it arrives, causing me hardship to pay my bills on time.

    • Ray F.

      Hi Sue, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions web page for information on this topic. Thanks!

  2. James M.

    I want to start working but can only manage part time,how does this effect my disability benefits ?

  3. Elizabeth

    I am divorced, but in the divorce documents it states that I am to receive 20%of my ex husbands social security. He is a U.S citizen. I am not and live in Australia. How do I go about claiming this s.s due to me. We divorced in December 2012!

  4. cheryl t.

    How much money can someone have in a bank account if they are on ssi

    • Ray F.

      Hello Cheryl. To get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your countable resources must not be worth more than $2,000 for an individual, or $3,000 for a couple. Thanks!

  5. Karen O.

    I turn 66 in October. How much can I earn this year?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Karen, that’s a great question. If you attain your full retirement age (66) in 2018, the limit on your earnings is $45,360 but we only count earnings before the month you reach your full retirement age. If you continue to work and are full retirement age or older, the amount you make at work will not affect your Social Security benefits, no matter how much you earn. Please visit our Retirement Planner: Getting Benefits While Working and read our publication “How Work Affects Your Benefits” for more information.

  6. Penny

    I would like to know if I am able to draw a small job income check. If so I would be a meet and greet person.
    How would I find out if I can qualify?

    Thank you

  7. DON A.

    would like stmt of payments for 2017 for ss

  8. peggy b.

    I’m 60 yrs old and on ssdi. What happens when I reach ss age? For me I think it is 67-1/2 yrs old.

    • Ray F.

      Hello Peggy, Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries attain their full retirement age. Benefits are not interrupted with this transition and the benefit amount will generally remains the same. If you were born in 1958 your full retirement age is 66 and 8 months. Thanks!

  9. Dan C.

    People in our government have been trying to get their hooks on our SS funds for many years, and they have now succeeded. So what do they plan to do with these funds? Invest them? Possibly loose them through incompetence and or corruption, then shrug their shoulders and say sorry? What guarantee do we or the SSA have to protect us?

  10. Dan C.

    I just retired a few months ago at age 62. I’m having trouble finding information on if/how my combined income with my retired spouse can affect my benefits.
    Thank you

    • Ray F.

      Hello Dan. Generally, your Social Security benefits are affected when you are younger than full retirement age and you continue to work and make more than the yearly earnings limit. When we figure out how much to deduct from your benefits, we count only the wages you make from your job or your net earnings if you’re self-employed. We include bonuses, commissions, and vacation pay.
      We don’t count pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, veterans, or other government or military retirement benefits.
      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.
      Please call our toll free number at 1-800-772-1213 for further assistance. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
      We hope this information helps!

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