When Will I Get My Social Security?

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.

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.

How Long Does the Application Process Take?

According to the Social Security Administration estimates it takes roughly three to five months to receive a decision on SSI eligibility. If approved the beneficiary would start receiving benefits soon afterwards on the next appropriate payment date.

When Do SSI Payments Come Through?

In the case of SSI benefits these 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.

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.

How Long Does It Take to be Approved?

Like Supplemental Security insurance the SSDI process is projected to take three to five months to complete. This of course assumes that the applicant is approved the first time. The truth is however that due to the potential for fraud with this benefit the Social Security Administration does not make things easy.

Often initial applications are denied but an appeals process exists. If the appeals process runs its course it is also possible to take the SSA to court using a disability lawyer. All told in the worst case scenario if you face roadblocks it might take as much as two years to get approved.

What Date Does SSDI Payout?

Social Security Disability Insurance is 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

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.

Social Security 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.

How Long Does a Social Security Retirement Process Take?

Those who have paid sufficient taxes into Social Security are entitled to retirement benefits after a certain age. Although this is an entitlement they still have to apply to start their benefits even when they reach the full age of 67. They can apply as soon as the age of 62 but will lose some benefits if they do so.

The application process is far quicker than disability claims taking usually about 6 weeks before an approval and the start of benefits.

When Do Social Security Retirements Payout?

Social Security retirement is 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

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

Depending on the type of Social Security you are applying for the process to approval and eventual receipt of first benefits can vary. Benefits based on disability claims take the longest running at least three – five months while retirement benefits as long as everything checks out should take less than two months.

Reference SSA Locator

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  • "When Will I Get My Social Security?". SSA Locator. Accessed on May 21, 2024. https://ssalocator.com/blog/when-will-i-get-my-social-security/.

  • "When Will I Get My Social Security?". SSA Locator, https://ssalocator.com/blog/when-will-i-get-my-social-security/. Accessed 21 May, 2024

  • When Will I Get My Social Security?. SSA Locator. Retrieved from https://ssalocator.com/blog/when-will-i-get-my-social-security/.