Q. How do I apply for retirement benefits?
A. There are three ways to apply for retirement benefits: over the Internet, by telephone or in person at one of Social Security's offices.
You can file for retirement benefits online at www.ssa.gov/applyforbenefits.
You can apply for benefits by telephone by calling our toll-free number, (800) 772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Or you can call the toll-free number and make an appointment to file an application with your local Social Security office. You can find your local office by calling our toll-free number or by checking our Field Office Locator at www.ssa.-gov/locator.
Q. What happens if my regular payment date falls on a Sunday or holiday?
A. Don't worry -- it doesn't mean you have to wait for the money. In fact, it means you'll get it earlier. When a payment date falls on a Sunday or holiday, we always make the payment the prior business day.
We have a handy payment calendar if you'd like to be prepared. It's online at www.ssa.gov/pubs/2002-calendar.htm or you can request a copy by calling (800) 772-1213 (TTY 800-325-0778), or visiting your local Social Security office.
Q. I have heard for years that Social Security benefit payments are made on the third of the month. I recently was awarded disability benefits, but my payment will come on the third Wednesday of the month. Why?
A. Since May 1997, people who become entitled to Social Security benefits receive their monthly benefits based on birth dates. For example, if you or the worker's day of birth is between the 1st and the 10th of the month, you will get your benefit payment on the second Wednesday; 11th through the 20th, the third Wednesday; and 21st to the 31st, the fourth Wednesday.
People who always have received their benefits on the third of the month will continue to do so. The Social Security payment schedule calendar for 2002 is available on the Internet at www.ssa.gov/pubs/-2002calendar.htm.
XThis column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213.
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