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What does Social Security pay for?

What does Social Security pay for? 

Social Security pays retirement, disability, and survivor benefits the month following the month in which you earned the benefit.  For example, if you earned a benefit in May, we will pay the benefit in June.

The birthday of the person on whose record you receive benefits determines your payment date.  For example, if you receive benefits as a:

  • Retired or disabled worker: Your birthday determines your payment date;
  • Spouse: Your spouse’s birthday determines your payment date;
  • Survivor: Your parent’s (or spouse’s) birthday determines your payment date;
  • Spouse, and you also receive retired or disabled worker benefits: The birthday of the worker (or spouse) who receives the payment first determines your payment date; and
  • Retired or disabled worker and as a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient: Your payment date falls on the third of the month.

We make SSI payments during the month the payment is due.  Generally, SSI payments arrive on the first of the month.  May’s payment will arrive May 1.

Beneficiaries who receive benefits before May 1997 or who also receive SSI, receive payment on the third.  Under certain circumstances, recipients paid on the third can volunteer to change that payment date to their birthday.  This change is permanent unless they become entitled to new benefits.




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