Why Did Social Security Change My Payment Date?

Mar 3 2019 - 8:08am

I am nearly 80 years old. I have been receiving Social Security Retirement Payments for many years. My birthday falles between the 1st and the 10th so I have been receiving the payments on the 2nd Wednesday of each month (more or less). I rely on the payment to pay for normal living expenses and, most importantly, our mortgage.
Today I received a letter from the SSA that says in effect:
- You will NOT receive a retirement check in March.
- You will receive your "March" check on April 3rd.
- You will receive your "April" check on May 3rd.
etc. etc.
So I will be out of usual cash availability for 21 days. That's a real hardship.
And, with the new schedule, this money will never be made up!
If I have to take a loan to stay afloat, I will have to carry the loan forever or create new savings to take its place.
This is most unusual.

The SSA did a very poor job of justifying the action. They provided the easily-found list of factors but none of those apply to me. They did NOT say which factor they had used nor why!! Then they had the gall to ask if I had "more information". More information re: what topic?

How is this possible? How many other people are being faced with arbitrary actions like this which amount to missing over $1,500 in retirement payments? I fear an epidemic.


It's rare for Social Security to change someone's payment date, but I don't think that the letter you received is telling you that you'll miss a payment. Instead, the letter indicates that you'll be receiving your payments earlier in the month from now on. Social Security pays benefits a month behind, so I assume you were paid your normal January payment on the 2nd Wednesday in February, and that you'll receive your normal February payment on the 2nd Wednesday of March. Then, you'll receive your March payment on April 3rd, and so on.

The reasons that Social Security changes a person's payment date are listed in section 121.3 of the following reference from their handbook: https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.01/handbook-0121.html. If none of those items apply to you, I don't know why they decided to move your payment date up to the 3rd of the month. However, note that section 121.4 of the handbook reference explains that you can ask Social Security to move your payment date back to the 2nd Wednesday of the month if you'd rather not get your payments on the 3rd of each month.

If you don't receive a payment in March for February, then you'll need to find out why from Social Security. Social Security would normally only withhold someone's payment(s) to recover some type of overpayment or other type of withholding, such as a garnishment or tax levy, etc.

Best, Jerry