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4 Social Security Payment Tips Nobody Alerts You

4 Social Security Payment Tips Nobody Alerts You

Roman Samborskyi / Shutterstock.com Many people understand the basics of Social Security long before they retire: You pay for the program with your t

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Many people understand the basics of Social Security long before they retire: You pay for the program with your taxes through your working years, and then there will be a nice chunk of change waiting for you thereafter.

We learn as we get older that things get more complicated than that. Much is written about everything from fitness requirements for ex-spouses to how to maximize your social security checks.

There are also certain things that would have been nice to know ahead of time, but that many people do not realize before they start receiving benefits. Here’s a quick look at some of them.

1. You are paid in arrears

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Uncle Sam is very specific about you paying him on time, but of course he is not quite so considerate in return.

As the Social Security Administration freely acknowledges, you can expect every Social Security check to be “paid in the month following the month for which they are payable.” In other words, your May check will arrive in June.

But it is not considered a late payment if the federal government does.

2. You are paid monthly

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In our working lives, many of us get used to weekly, fortnightly or at least twice monthly payments – and we build our budgets around that.

These pay periods describe the vast majority of U.S. salaries, according to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Three-quarters of employers pay either weekly or fortnightly, while less than 5% of employers pay monthly.

Nevertheless, Social Security operates on the unpopular monthly frequency.

3. Your payment date usually depends on your birthday

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Once upon a time – before 1997 – most people received their social security checks in the first three days of the month. It did not work very well.

Because everyone was expecting their checks at the same time, it created a burden on the Social Security Administration, banks, businesses, the postal service and others.

The SSA found that services were less overwhelmed when checks were distributed throughout the month. This process is called “paid cycling”, and today it works like this:

  • If your birthday is on the 1st to the 10th: Benefits are paid out on the second Wednesday of the month.
  • If your birthday is on the 11th to the 20th: Benefits are paid out on the third Wednesday.
  • If your birthday is on the 21st to the 31st: Benefits are paid out on the fourth Wednesday.

4. If you receive SSI, your payment date is different

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There is an exception to receiving social security based on your date of birth.

If you also receive Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits – which are income supplements for people who are elderly, blind or disabled, and who have little to no income – you will receive your Social Security payment on the third of the month , just like in the good old days. In the meantime, you’ll get your SSI payment on first.

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