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If I claim Social Security benefits at full retirement age, when will I get my first payment?

If you set benefits to begin at full retirement age (FRA) — 66 and 4 months for people born in 1956, 66 and 6 months for those born in 1957 and gradually rising to 67 for people born in 1960 and later — your first payment generally will arrive in the month after you attain that age. That’s because Social Security pays benefits a month behind, so your benefit for, say, June 2023 will arrive in July.

Your birthday generally determines your monthly payment schedule:

  • If the birthday is between the first and the 10th day of the month, the benefit payment arrives on the second Wednesday of each month.
  • If the birthday is between the 11th and the 20th, the payment comes on the third Wednesday of the month.
  • If the birthday is between the 21st and the end of the month, the payment arrives on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
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So, if you reach full retirement age on June 15 and start benefits then, you’ll get your first Social Security payment on the third Wednesday of July.

There's an exception if you were born on the first day of the month. In this case, Social Security considers you to have attained full retirement age on the last day of the month preceding the milestone date. For example, if you were born February 1, 1957, you attain your full retirement age of 66 and 6 months on July 31, 2023, and you would receive your first payment in August 2023.

Keep in mind

  • Benefit applications can take up to three months to process, so apply three months before your planned start date.
  • If you are drawing spousal or survivor benefits on another person’s earnings record, your payment date depends on that person’s birthday and follows the schedule above.

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