Social Security Q&A Part 27

By Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist


I plan to retire soon. When are Social Security benefits paid?


Social Security benefits are paid each month. Generally, new retirees receive their benefits on either the second, third, or fourth Wednesday of each month, depending on the day in the month the retiree was born. If you receive benefits as a spouse, your benefit payment date will be determined by your spouse’s birth date.

Here’s a chart showing how your monthly payment date is determined:

Day of the Month You Were Born

Social Security Benefits Paid On


Second Wednesday


Third Wednesday


Fourth Wednesday

For a calendar showing actual payment dates, see the Schedule of Social Security Benefit Payments at


How can I protect myself against identity theft?


First, don’t carry your Social Security card with you. Keep it secure at home with your other important papers. Second, don’t readily give out your Social Security number. While many banks, schools, doctors, landlords, and others will request your number, it is your decision whether to provide it. Ask if there is some other way to identify you in their records.

If you are the victim of identity theft, you should report it right away. To report identity theft, fraud, or misuse of your Social Security number, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (the nation’s consumer protection agency) recommends you:

Place a fraud alert on your credit file by contacting one of the following companies (The company you contact is required to contact the other two, which will then place alerts on your reports.):
o Equifax, 1-800-525-6285.
o Trans Union, 1-800-680-7289.
o Experian, 1-888-397-3742.
Review your credit report for inquiries from companies you have not contacted, accounts you did not open, and debts on your accounts you cannot explain.
Close any accounts you know, or believe, have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.
File a complaint with the FTC at 1-877-438-4338 (TTY 1-866-653-4261).


Will my son be eligible to receive benefits on his retired father’s record while going to college?


No. At one time, Social Security did pay benefits to eligible college students. But the law changed in 1981. We now pay benefits only to students taking courses at grade 12 or below. Normally, benefits stop when children reach age 18 unless they are disabled. However, if children are still full-time students at a secondary (or elementary) school at age 18, benefits generally can continue until they graduate or until two months after they reach age 19, whichever is first.


My father receives Social Security retirement benefits and I will be in charge of his estate when he dies. Should that occur, do I need to report his death to Social Security or will benefits automatically stop?


When your father dies, please notify Social Security as soon as possible at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). Another person, such as a spouse, may be eligible for survivors benefits based on his record. Also, we might be able to pay a one-time payment of $255 to help with funeral expenses.


I’m reaching my full retirement age and thinking about retiring early next year. When is the best time of year to apply for Social Security benefits?


You can apply as early as four months before when you want your monthly benefits to begin. To apply, just go to Applying online for retirement benefits from the convenience of your home or office is secure and can take as little as 15 minutes. It’s so easy!