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. Frank J.

    I have been on ssdi for over two years now and it is only recently I reactivated the child support order from the non-custodial parent. Do I need to report to social security the child support if I am receiving ssdi and my child is receiving child benefit under me? I’ve been told by DHS ‘No’, but need to tell DHS.

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Frank, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. If you and your child are both receiving Social Security benefit, the benefit amounts will not change because of child support. However, SSI benefits are based on income, resources and living arrangements. If you or your child are receiving SSI, you need to report all changes of income to us immediately.

      For specifics on what needs to be reported when receiving SSDI, check out the publication What You Need to Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits.

      If you have specific questions, call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Our representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

  2. Mary K.

    How long does evaluation take. When will I receive my first payment?

  3. Julie C.

    How can I find out if I’m getting my payment for February?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Julie. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask members in our Blog community to work with our offices for specific questions regarding their case. You can contact us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Or you can contact your local office. Thanks.

  4. Don B.

    I have a 20 year old son that is working and also receiving child support from disability I’m going to a hard she’ll how can I reduce this or terminate

    • Vonda V.

      Thank you for your question, Don. We can withhold Social Security benefits to enforce a beneficiary’s legal obligation to pay child support. However, State laws determine a valid garnishment order. By law, we garnish current and continuing monthly benefits. We do not make retroactive adjustments. You cannot appeal to Social Security for implementing garnishment orders. If you disagree with the garnishment, contact an attorney or representative where the court issued the order.

  5. darlene b.

    asking for a friend, if he receives a law suit settlement will he lose his benifits?

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Darlene. It depends on the type of benefit they are receiving and the type of settlement. Unfortunately, and because of security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog and cannot assist you.

      To inquire about the potential impact on benefits, your friend will need to contact their local office or call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

  6. Maria A.

    what is the turn time from date of application to receiving first check?

    • Vonda V.

      Hello Maria. Our system is set up to take applications four months in advance, and you can apply for most benefits online. Keep in mind that benefits are paid the month after they are due. So, for instance, if you want your benefits to begin with the month of June, you will receive your first benefit payment in July. Please visit our Social Security Benefits Planner for more information.

  7. edwin

    Can your estimate d benefit in your yearly report differ from the actual benefit

    • Vonda V.

      Hi Edwin, thank you for using our blog. A benefit estimate is just that, an estimate. The Social Security Statement’s estimated retirement benefits are based on assumptions about future earnings. Social Security assumes that future earnings are going to be the same as the latest full year’s reported earnings. For example, if the worker earned $40,000 last year, it is assumed he or she will earn that much in the current and future years. Zero earnings in the last 2 years will result in the assumption of no current and future earnings.

      Social Security has an online calculator called a Retirement Estimator that provides immediate retirement benefit estimates based on your actual Social Security earnings record. Plus, it allows you to create “what if” scenarios. You can, for example, change your “stop work” dates or expected future earnings to create and compare different retirement alternatives.

      See our Benefits Planner: Retirement web page for more on obtaining benefit estimates.

  8. Joseph L.

    When receiving benefits, if you received a check for the month of November, is it for October or November benefits.

  9. Billye H.

    How can I get a copy of my social security benefits for 2018? Can I print it online?

  10. Charles M.

    I received two payments in October 2018. Is that correct?

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