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AARP's Social Security Q&A Tool

If I apply for Social Security benefits in the month when I turn full retirement age, when can I expect to receive my first check?

En español | Once you have applied, it could take up to three months to receive your first check. Social Security benefits are paid monthly, starting in the month AFTER the birthday.

Generally, the day of the month you receive your benefit depends on the birth date of the person on whose record you are collecting.  If the birthday is the 1st-10th of the month you will receive your check on the second Wednesday  of the month after that birthday. If the birthday is the 11th-20th of the month you will receive your check on the third Wednesday. Finally, if the birthday is the 21st-31st you will receive your check on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

SSA does not make partial month payments. Thus, indivduals first become eligible to receive a benefit during the month after the month of their 62nd birthday.  So, if a person was born in May, his or her first month of eligiblity is June.  Since SSA pays individuals a month behind, the person will receive the June benefit in the month of July. If you would like to receive your first check the first month you are eligible, you will need to apply three months before your birthday.

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