If you haven’t reached retirement age, be warned: Social Security has some pretty quirky rules.
And that’s just the way the government works from time to time, says Jim Blair, a former administrator for the agency who now works with Premier Social Security Consulting,
You might think, for instance, that you’d receive your check on the first of every month after you’ve applied for the benefits. But no.
The benefits are paid in the month following the month in which they are owed to you, according to the Social Security Administration’s booklet, “What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits.” For example, you would receive your June benefit in July.
Another key fact: The day of the month you receive your check generally depends on the birth date of the person whose earnings record is the basis for your benefit, Social Security says. For instance, benefits are paid on the second Wednesday of the month if the date of birth is the 1st to the 10th; the third Wednesday if your date of birth is the 11th to the 20th; and the fourth Wednesday if your date of birth is the 21st to the 31st.
So, what are other quirky rules worth knowing?
How Social Security determines ages
A person “attains” a new age on the first moment of the day before the anniversary of his or her birth, says Joe Elsasser, founder and president of Covisum, a Social Security claiming software company. So people born on the first of the month are treated as though they are born the month before.
What’s more, if you’re born on Jan. 1, that means you were born on Dec. 31 the previous year in the eyes of the Social Security Administration, says Martha Shedden, the president and co-founder of the National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts.
If you were born on Jan. 1, 1955, Social Security treats you as though you were born in 1954, Elsasser says, meaning your full retirement age is 66 rather than 66 and two months, as would be the case if you were born on any other day in 1955.
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