The one thing nearly every retiree needs to know to manage their finances is when they'll get their Social Security benefits. The Social Security Administration understands that need to preplan, and so it makes sure that its benefit recipients know well in advance when they can expect monthly payments to be available. Not only can you learn exactly when you'll receive your 2018 Social Security payments, but the SSA has also released its schedule for 2019 payments from Social Security more than a year early. Let's look more closely at how the SSA decides who gets paid when.

When will Social Security make 2019 payments?

Not everyone gets their Social Security benefits on the same date each month. The key to determine when you'll get paid is the day of the month on which you were born.

Blue Social Security card sticking out of a pile of U.S. currency.

Image source: Getty Images.

If your birthday is in the first 10 days of the month, then you'll get your benefits on the second Wednesday of each month. Those with birthdays between the 11th and the 20th get their monthly payments on the third Wednesday. Payments are made on the fourth Wednesday of the month for those with birthdays on the 21st or later.

Here's a calendar that shows how those rules play out in 2019.

Schedule of Social Security benefit payments calendar for 2019.

Image source: SSA.

The biggest thing for recipients to note about 2019 is that the Christmas holiday falls on a Wednesday. Because banks will be closed, Social Security recipients getting their benefits by direct deposit can expect to see a slightly different date when their payment hits their account. According to the SSA, the payment should ordinarily get made the previous day, making it a bit odd that the calendar itself doesn't reflect that earlier payment date the way it usually would.

When do SSI recipients get their Social Security payments?

The rules above cover those receiving regular retirement or disability payments under Social Security. The SSA also runs the Supplemental Security Income program for low-income Americans, and they get paid on a different schedule. Typically, SSI payments go out on the first day of the month. However, if that day is a weekend or holiday, then the payment gets moved earlier to the first available nonholiday weekday.

Another special rule applies to those who either started getting Social Security before May 1997 or who get a combination of regular Social Security and SSI payments. The SSA makes payments to them on the third day of each month, again subject to getting moved earlier if that day is a holiday or falls on a weekend.

How will I receive my payments?

It used to be that Social Security recipients had to account for potential delays related to mailing physical checks. Now, the SSA mandates that if you get benefits, you must receive payments electronically. You can do so either by signing up for direct deposit into your bank account, or you can set up a special prepaid debit card under the Direct Express system. More information about the Direct Express program is available here [opens PDF].

Most people find direct deposit to be more efficient, because it ensures that funds are received in a timely fashion and available more quickly to cover expenses. Combined with a detailed schedule for receiving those payments, retirees can easily make spending plans well in advance to take into account when they'll be getting their Social Security.

2019 is still a long way away, but having this schedule now will let you plan as far ahead as you want. For many who rely on Social Security for most of their income, having that security is one of the most valuable things about receiving benefits.