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SOCIAL SECURITY Q&A: Retirement payment dates vary

Q: I recently signed up for Social Security retirement and was surprised to learn that payments will arrive late in the month. I thought Social Security Administration payments came on the third of the month. Is this a recent change?

A: Definitely not. With some exceptions, Social Security payments have been paid on different dates throughout a month since May 1997. Until then, Social Security payments arrived on the third of a month.

Most people receiving SSA benefits based on their own work record, such as your own retirement, have a payment date based on their birth date. A family member receiving benefits through your record also has a payment date based on your birthday. Due to birth dates, a couple might receive Social Security payment on different days if eligible through their individual work records.

For birth dates from the first to 10th of a month, payment is on the second Wednesday, for birthdates from the 11th to the 20th, on the third Wednesday, and for later dates on the fourth Wednesday.

If receiving Social Security before May 1997, or if receiving both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), the SSA payment date remains the third of the month. SSI payments are usually on the first of a month. Regular payment dates for both Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are advanced if the usual date falls on a day when financial institutions are closed.

The 2014 Social Security schedule of payment dates is at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/calendar2014.pdf.

Social Security payments for a month are paid the following month so the May benefit is received in June. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for a month are received in that month.

Replacement card

Q: Can I replace my Social Security card by mail or do I have go to a SSA office?

A: At no charge, replacement Social Security number (SSN) cards can be requested by mail or at a SSA office. Either way, you need to complete the same application and present the same original documents. Download the application and learn what documents are needed at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssnumber/.

Documents submitted must be either original or a copy certified by the issuing agency, not a photocopy or notarized copy. All documents are returned to you. 

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