AMAC in the Media

If I apply now, when will I get my first Social Security check? – Ask Rusty

Posted on Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Russell Gloor, AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor
A pen and glasses sitting on 2 pieces of paper. one reads ask rusty and the other social security benefits.

Dear Rusty: If I were to apply for my Social Security retirement (I will be 68 on November 1, 2023), when could I realistically expect to receive my first check? 

Thank you in advance for your service as a Social Security Advisor.

Signed: Ready to Claim

Dear Ready: Social Security suggests applying for benefits 2 – 3 months before you wish payments to begin, to allow time for processing your application. When you apply, you will specify the month you wish your benefits to start, and that is when your benefits will officially begin. But Social Security pays benefits in the month following the month they are earned. So, if, for example, you applied and specified November 2023 as your benefit start month, your benefit for that month wouldn’t be received until December. The payment date for you will be on the 2nd Wednesday (because you were born between the 1st and 10th of the month), and your payment won’t be by check but rather by direct deposit into your bank account. Here are a few other things you should be aware of:

  • Since you were born on the 1st of the month, your benefit is computed using the previous month as your full retirement age month. If your year of birth was 1955, your full retirement age (FRA) was 66 years and two months, which means that you actually reached your FRA in December 2021.
  • Since you reached your FRA, you have been earning Delayed Retirement Credits (DRCs) at the rate of .667% per month (8% additional benefit per year). You can earn DRCs up to age 70, at which point your SS benefit would be about 31% more than it would have been at your FRA.
  • If you turn 68 on November 1st, at that time you will have earned about 15% additional benefit through DRCs. That means your benefit, if claimed to start at 68 in November, will be about 15% more than it would have been at your FRA. You will specify the month you wish your benefit to start when you apply.
  • Social Security applies DRCs in January of each year, so if you claim benefits to start before the end of 2023, your DRCs earned during 2023 won’t be applied to your benefit payment until January of 2024.
  • You can claim up to 6 months’ retroactive benefits, which would be paid in a lump sum. If you choose to take 6 months’ worth of retroactive benefits, your “benefit-start-month” will be backdated, your benefit amount will be reduced accordingly (by 4%), and you’ll get that reduced benefit for the rest of your life (except for Cost of Living Adjustments annually awarded).


So, this may be more detail than you expected for your simple question, but claiming SS is a serious decision and it’s important you have complete information before you apply.

Thank you for submitting your question to our Social Security Advisor department. Be sure to share our link with your family and friends. 

This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website ( or email us at [email protected].

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