Important Social Security Payment Dates You Need to Know

What Is the Social Security Administration?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent government agency that administers social security. It is an insurance program that consists of retirement, disability and survivor benefits. In order to qualify for these benefits most workers pay into the system through social security taxes.

The head offices of the social security agency are located in Woodlawn, Maryland and are referred to as the Central Office. There are tens of thousands of workers employed by the social security agency and it is the largest government program in the United States.

It is estimated that by the end of the 2022 fiscal year the agency will have paid out $1.2 trillion in benefits to 66 million citizens and legal residents of the United States. An additional $61 billion is expected in SSI benefits and $7.5 million to low-income individuals.

This government agency is a vital part of the country's economy and without it millions of already struggling Americans would have nothing. It is a program that many have paid into for decades in preparation for retirement and as an insurance policy against sudden disability.

History of the Social Security Agency

On August 14th 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law as part of his New Deal initiative. This led to the creation of the Social Security Board (SSB), a presidentially appointed group of three executives tasked with overseeing the social security program.

With zero budget, staff or even furniture the SSB finally obtained funding from the Federal Emergency Relief Administration. It was on October 14th 1936 that the first social security office opened its doors in Austin, Texas.

In January of 1937 social security taxes were first collected. Just a few years later the first social security check was issued to Ida Mary Fuller of Battleboro, Vermont. Ida’s check was dated January 31st 1940 and she received $22.54.

The SSB in 1939 merged with the U.S. Public Health Service, the Civilian Conservation Corp and other government agencies to become the Federal Security Agency. In 1846 under President Harry S. Truman the SSB was named the Social Security Administration SSA.

In 1953 the Federal Security Agency was dismantled and the SSA was placed under the banner of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Finally in 1994 President Bill Clinton made the Social Security Administration an independent body once again.

Why Do You Need to Know Your Payment Dates?

If you are claiming some form of social security benefits be they for retirement, unemployment or disability it is likely you rely on the frequency of these payments to manage your day to day life. This is why understanding how the payment schedule works can be very important.

The Social Security Administration has to have a set schedule for dispersing payments in order to simplify their process. With new social security claims being approved daily basing a start date for benefits on the exact date an application was approved would quickly become over complicated.

There are some easy guidelines however that can help you determine when your next benefit payment should land on your doormat or in your bank account if you have direct deposit.

What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

The Supplemental Security Income program provides cash payments to disabled adults, disabled children and seniors over 65 years old. It is a means-tested program meaning that eligibility is dependent on the applicant's income.

This program is open to citizens or nationals of the United States and unlike SSDI you do not need to have a history of paying Social Security taxes. This is because individuals who apply may never have worked due to their disabilities or some other reason.

This was a system that was created to replace federal-state adult assistance programs. These programs served the same purpose but were state specific. As these original state programs were inconsistent in their eligibility requirements they received a great deal of criticism.

When Do SSI Payments Come?

According to the Social Security Administration SSI benefits are paid on the 1st of the month, every month. This is true unless the 1st happens to fall on a weekend in which case the Friday prior to the 1st becomes the new date. So for example if November 1st falls on a Sunday then the SSI payment for November will be paid Friday the 30th of October instead.

Retirement, Survivors and Disability Benefits

The main three benefits through social security follow a similar payment pattern based on the birthdate of the recipient of said benefits.

Retirement Benefits

Retirement benefits from social security are earned through the payment of taxes taken from an individual's paycheck throughout their working life. A minimum of 40 credits are required to qualify for full retirement which equates to around 10 years of full time employment.

Social Security Disability Insurance

This program was created to take care of tax paying citizens or legal residents who have contributed to social security through the payment of taxes should they become unable to work any longer. This generally kicks in prior to retirement age and does so because an individual has become unable to work due to a physical or mental disability.

Survivors Benefits

This is an important aspect of social security as it is designed to take care of dependents of beneficiaries who have passed away. This usually means either the spouse or minor children of the deceased individual who was eligible for a monthly benefit. There are some other dependents who may qualify for survivors payments but this may be on a case by case basis.

Which Dates Do Retirement, Survivors and Disability Payments Get Paid?

These three programs are consistent when it comes to payments, supplying benefits monthly but not on the same day for everyone. Your payment date for these types of benefits will usually be on a Wednesday. It will be based on the beneficiary's birthday as shown below:

  • Born 1st – 10th of the month: payment is the second Wednesday of the month
  • Born 11th – 20th of the month: payment is the third Wednesday of the month
  • Born 21st – 31st of the month: payment is the fourth Wednesday of the month

It should be noted that in survivors benefits the date of payment reflects the birth date of the deceased individual whose benefits are being given to the dependent. It is not based on the birth date of the recipient of the survivors benefit

There are certain circumstances under which payments will come on the 3rd of the month and not based on the birth date of the recipient these are:

  • The benefits were first filed for before May 1st, 1997
  • The beneficiary also receives supplemental security income (SSI) payments
  • Medicare premiums are paid for by the state in which the beneficiary lives
  • The beneficiary no longer lives in the United States

If the normal payment date of these benefits fall on a federal holiday then the payment will shift to the first weekday prior to that holiday.

Final Thoughts

In order to keep things simple the Social Security Administration is very regimented about when they pay benefits. It depends on the type of benefit and sometimes the day of the month on which the beneficiary is born. There are some more unique circumstances which may change the date but otherwise it should not be too difficult to determine when your benefits will arrive.

Reference SSA Locator

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  • "Important Social Security Payment Dates You Need to Know". SSA Locator. Accessed on May 26, 2024.

  • "Important Social Security Payment Dates You Need to Know". SSA Locator, Accessed 26 May, 2024

  • Important Social Security Payment Dates You Need to Know. SSA Locator. Retrieved from