When you're retired, you have time to think well into the future, and knowing when you can expect to get your Social Security checks is something you'll want to know long before those checks ever come. Even though 2016 hasn't ended yet, the Social Security Administration has already come out with its calendar telling benefit recipients when they'll get Social Security payments in 2018. Below, we'll look at the general rule that governs these payments so you can be prepared for the indefinite future.

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Image source: Getty Images.

When Social Security will pay benefits in 2018

The SSA makes payments on a regular schedule that is really quite simple. The starting point for when your payment will arrive in your bank account depends on your birthday.

Specifically, if you were born during the first 10 days of the month, then your payments will come on the second Wednesday of that month. For those born between the 11th and the 20th of any given month, the payment should be made on the third Wednesday. Finally, those born on the 21st or after within a given month receive their benefit on the fourth Wednesday of the month.

Below, you'll find the calendar that shows this graphically. The blue box represents the second Wednesday, while the third Wednesday is a gray box and the fourth Wednesday is a red box.

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Image source: SSA.

Special rules for Social Security payments

However, you'll see a couple of other dates indicated on the calendar above. First, those who receive Supplemental Security Income, which is a program for low-income Americans, typically receive their payments on the first day of the month. If that day is a weekend or holiday, however, then they'll get the payment on the business day immediately preceding the first of the month. That's indicated on the calendar by a red circle.

In addition, a special rule governs those who receive both Social Security and SSI payments, or those who started receiving Social Security before May 1997. For them, all payments are made on the third day of the month. If that's a weekend or holiday, then the payment is made the preceding business day. The calendar represents those payments with a blue outlined box.

One thing to remember

Finally, note that the dates above apply to benefits that are directly deposited into your bank account. In March 2013, a new law required all Social Security or SSI recipients to receive electronic payments. In very rare circumstances, the Treasury Department will grant exceptions to those who request waivers. If that applies to you, then you can expect to wait longer to receive your paper Social Security check than these dates suggest.

For the vast majority of Social Security recipients, however, the above schedule will tell you when you should expect to receive your money. If you don't see your benefits hit your bank account on time, then a call to your financial institution or to the Social Security Administration is smart to make sure all your information is in order.

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