When Can You Expect Your First Social Security Payment?

When can you expect to get your first Social Security payment in retirement? The answer might surprise you.

When are you entitled to your first Social Security retirement payment? Is it the month in which you turn 62?

Surprisingly, the answer is “no” in most cases.

Social Security will only pay you a benefit if you 1) Meet all the requirements for benefits and 2) Have lived throughout the entire month of eligibility.

Let’s say that you were born on November 4th, which means that you would first become eligible for benefits on your 62nd birthday. You would not be entitled to a November benefit, as you did not meet one of the eligibility requirements (i.e., being age 62) for the entire month of November. The first month of eligibility for you would be December, and you would receive that payment in January.

There’s a little extra confusion for those born on the first day of the month. Social Security (and OPM too) follow an old English law that says that you actually reach your age on the day before your birthday. Therefore if you were born November 1st, you would be viewed at turning age 62 on October 31st and would be eligible to receive a benefit payment for November. You would receive that payment in December.

The date you would receive your Social Security payment will depend on your birth date.

  • If you were born on the 1st through the 10th of the month, your payment date is the 2nd Wednesday.
  • If you were born on the 11th through the 20th of the month, your payment date is the 3rd Wednesday.
  • If you were born on the 21st through the end of the month, your payment date is the 4th Wednesday.

Agencies can request to have John Grobe, or another of Federal Career Experts' qualified instructors, deliver a retirement or transition seminar to their employees. FCE instructors are not financial advisers and will not sell or recommend financial products to class participants. Agency Benefits Officers can contact John Grobe at johnfgrobe@comcast.net to discuss schedules and costs.

About the Author

John Grobe is President of Federal Career Experts, a firm that provides pre-retirement training and seminars to a wide variety of federal agencies. FCE’s instructors are all retired federal retirement specialists who educate class participants on the ins and outs of federal retirement and benefits; there is never an attempt to influence participants to invest a certain way, or to purchase any financial products. John and FCE specialize in retirement for special category employees, such as law enforcement officers.