Q & A

I signed up for Social Security. When will I get my first check?

Complete Question: I finally got all signed up to start my Social Security benefits for my 66th birthday, which is on February 5th, 2015. So when will I get my first check and how often will I get paid? I gave them my bank account information, does that mean it is direct deposited? I thought that was for income verification, but I’m not sure.

Answer: It sounds like you signed up for direct deposit. The Omnibus Consolidated Rescissions and Appropriations Act of 1996 required that all federal payments, including Social Security, would have to be completed through an electronic funds transfer; therefore, no more paper checks. This went into effect on January 1, 1999. In some situations, such as people who do not have a bank account, the government will give you a debit card that is credited with your payments. Most people get their Social Security payments through direct deposit. If you get Social Security payments on a debit card, it is called a Direct Express Card.

As for when you get your first payment (which is once per month), you will receive it one month after it is due. Therefore, if you are starting benefits as of your 66th birthday, then your first payment will be in March. Furthermore, payment dates are based on the day of your birth. People who were born between the 1st and 10th of the month (like you) receive their payment on the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

In summary, if you (a) will be 66 on February 5th, 2015; (b) you signed up for direct deposit; and (c) you elected to start your benefits as of your 66th birthday, then your first payment will be made via direct deposit into your bank account on March 11, 2015.

For those of you who are reading this and would like to know:
If you are born between the 11th and the 20th of the month, you will be paid on the 3rd Wednesday of the month.
If you are born the 21st or later, you will be paid on the 4th Wednesday of the month.

Research Analyst & Certified Social Security Advisor
AMAC Foundation
Notice: If you have any additional questions about Social Security payments, or any other Social Security issue, you can reply below. If you would like to discuss your situation privately, you can email C.J. at cmiles@amacfoundation.com. Please do not provide any personal identification information, such as Social Security numbers.

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