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. Judy

    I’m receiving my late husbands SS check every month. I am now 61 and am getting remarried and keeping my name. Will I still be able to collect my late husbands SS.

  2. Dennis G.

    same as above

  3. Dennis E.

    I received a call from 1-501-475-9134 claiming they were SSA saying they would cancel my SS # if I did`nt contact them imeadeatly. I did and and they wanted my name and SSN before they could help. I wouldn’t put that out for the world to see and they said they could`nt help me then and told me to hang up. I did and now I send you this comment. His Badge # is 43587319 and name is Ben Robert. Please respond.
    Thank you.

    • A.C.

      Hi, Dennis. Thanks for letting us know. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

  4. vivianraines

    Can one stay on disability until age 65 or must it be taken earlier ??

    • A.C.

      Hi, Vivian. Thanks for your question. When you reach full retirement age, we will automatically convert your disability benefits to retirement benefits, but the benefit amount remains the same. Therefore, you don’t have to do anything. To find out your full retirement age, please visit here. We hope this helps.

  5. Wendy P.

    If I worked long enough to have early retirement benefits, yet had to go out on SS Disability. Am I allowed to draw on my early retirement plus my SS Disability?

    • A.C.

      Hi, Wendy. Social Security disability benefits automatically change to retirement benefits when disability beneficiaries become full retirement age. For more information, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. Thanks!

  6. Tina K.

    My fiance gets a social security amount based upon his deceased wife’s income. He is afraid that his amount will be reduced to what he originally had upon retirement if he remarries.. is this true?

    • A.C.

      Hi, Tina. If he receives retirement or Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits, his marriage will not affect his benefit. If he is receiving SSI, widow or widower’s benefits, his marriage may affect his benefit. To learn more about how marriage affects benefits, visit our Frequently Asked Questions. Thanks.

  7. Karen g.

    I am turning 61 in May 16

  8. Donna J.

    My husband 92, me 73. Married 35 yrs. my husband wants to move to Alabama to die! If I don’t divorce him what will my social security benefit be as a percentage of what we both get currently.

  9. David

    If I collect SS and my spouse continues to work, will I pay taxes on my SS benefits if we file a joint tax return, or should we file separately so I don’t pay taxes on my SS?

    • V.V.

      Hi David, thank you for the question. Check out our Benefits Planner | Income Taxes And Your Social Security Benefitweb page for details on taxation of benefits.

    • Bambi K.

      I need to fill out a form SSA1763 and I can’t seem to find it. I already have the ins and they are taking money out money for ins I don’t need.

      • V.V.

        Hi Bambi, thanks for using our blog. Check out our Frequently Asked Questions web page for details on how to terminate Medicare Part B, including the required form. We hope this helps!

  10. Frank M.

    Many years ago I worked for an employer that puts me on an hourly wage at first. After three months they put me on salary. I worked for the company for over 6 years, salary, 45 hours a week. Many times I worked O.T. 60 to 80 hours because I was young, energetic, workhorse, bull, and was good at what I did. I got more work done because I am deaf and did not talk with workers or use a cell phone. Regardless if I work 60-80 hours O.T. I still go paid 45 hours a week. Of all the hours not accounted for did this affected my social security earning, benefits? I feel this is something social security did not know or see because of the way the employer set up my salary, so social security do not see the BIG PICTURE. This happened in 1986-1992. Can I file a complaint about this or is this precedent?

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