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Late Benefits Payments and What to Do

As we discussed in the most recent article, benefits payments from Social Security are spread throughout every month, and payments are no longer delivered to recipients via paper checks. As a result, it is important to know what your exact payment date is in the event that your payment is late.

Remember that if your regularly-scheduled payment date falls on a federal holiday, your payment should arrive the business day before. If the holiday exception does not apply to you, and you have not received your payment per usual, contact your financial institution to see if that is where the delay has occurred.

After three full business days, you can contact Social Security Administration (SSA) by finding your local office or by calling the main number at 1-800-772-1213. If, however, you believe that your payment has been stolen, contact SSA immediately.

There are a number of reasons why your payment might be late. It is possible that SSA changed the bank it uses to process benefits payments, or the local office that handles your payments might be experiencing a slow processing time. Also, if it is your first month becoming entitled to benefits, remember that SSA pays benefits a month late; therefore, if you became entitled to a payment in May, you will not receive those funds until June.

Since SSA no longer provides payments via paper checks, your funds will either arrive via direct deposit into your bank account or loaded onto your Direct Express debit card. If you do not have a bank account or do not provide bank account information to SSA, SSA will default to providing your funds via the Direct Express debit card.

It is extremely important that SSA always have your most updated contact information. SSA frequently sends important paperwork via mail, regardless of how you receive your benefits payments. If you move and do not notify SSA, and SSA subsequently cannot contact you via mail, it will stop your payments. If you change banks and do not provide SSA with updated account information, you will stop receiving payments as well.

You can easily update your information with SSA via your my Social Security account online or by contacting your local office. SSA will process changes to your information once they have confirmed your identity. Keep in mind that any changes you make will take between 30-60 days to change, so do not close out any bank accounts until your benefits have begun to arrive in the new bank account.

You should receive your first benefit payment within 90 days of being approved for benefits. If you have not received anything in that time, contact your attorney if you have one or SSA directly if you do not. And if you receive a payment to which you are not entitled, you must immediately notify your bank so that it can send the funds back to the United States Treasury.