This podcast is a discussion of Social Security benefits for active duty military and veterans: Special Earnings for Military Service, Military pension is not affected by WEP/GPO, Military disability pay does not affect Social Security benefits, SSDI, Tricare for life healthcare
This recording presents the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. To request additional information, contact our Advisory Staff at 888-750-2622, or email us at [email protected].
7 comments about “Social Security Podcast 33: Social Security issues and military service; Veterans benefits; Health care issues”
I served in the Army from Jan. 1973 to Jan. 1976 with an honorable discharge. I’m going to start receiving my social security next year. My question is am I eligible to receive more social security because of my service?
Does the VA take your Social Security income away if you are in a VA care center?
Regarding your question about Social Security (see below), VA care benefits are earned as a result of your service to our country and are independent of your Social Security benefits, so I don’t believe that the VA will “take away” your Social Security if you are in a VA care center. Your VA healthcare providers may coordinate with any other private healthcare coverage you have, but I cannot find any VA information which indicates the VA would take your Social Security benefits. I hope this is helpful, but please contact us via email at [email protected] if you have any further questions.
Russ Gloor, Social Security Advisor
AMAC Foundation, Inc.
The opinions and interpretations expressed in this message are the viewpoints of the message’s author, a trained advisor accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). The author, the NSSA, and the AMAC Foundation are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government.
We are pleased to have the opportunity to serve you via the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory Service, a program we offer to the public free of charge. The AMAC Foundation is a 501(3)(c) non-profit organization, operating completely on financial contributions from the public. To learn more about the Foundation and the programs we provide, or to contribute to the Foundation’s mission, visit our website: http://www.AmacFoundation.org. Also, please note that we conduct periodic surveys of people we have served to help ensure that we are providing the highest level of quality. These surveys are done via separate email contact, and are very brief. Your participation is important and much appreciated! If you prefer that we do not include you, please let us know and we’ll exclude your email address from the survey list.
I served in the US military from 6 Oct 1981 to 29 Aug 1992. Do I qualify for the Social Security Enhancements based on Military Service? If, yes, how do I do this?
Thank you for your military service.
Military personnel have contributed to Social Security from their military pay since 1957. Veterans who served during the years you did receive “special extra earnings” credit equal to $100 for every $300 in military pay, up to a maximum of $1200 per year. Those amounts have already been credited to your Social Security earnings record for the years during which you served. Thus, your SS earnings record for your years of service should now reflect a dollar amount higher than you were actually paid (Note you only receive SS credit for earnings on which you paid FICA tax (up to the payroll tax cap for each year). So, yes, you receive extra credit (“enhancements”) based on your military service, and those extra credits have already been applied to your earnings for your service years. Here’s a link to an article which explains in more detail: https://socialsecurityreport.org/ask-rusty-about-special-extra-earnings-for-military-service/
Social Security Advisor
The AMAC Foundation
I started receiving social security in June 2021. I served in the military from August 27, 1976 through August 17, 1980. Can I still apply for the added security cash benefit?
Thank you for your service to our country.
Information about the so-called “Special Extra Credit for Military Service” has been floating around the internet and social media for a long time, but unfortunately most of it totally misinterprets what this credit actually is. “Arm chair experts” often say it is an extra amount of money that will be added to your Social Security payment in return for your military service, but that is not at all how it works. Worse, most so-called “experts” suggest it won’t be automatically given and that you must ask for it and present your DD-214 to get it. None of that is true.
I have researched and written about this topic numerous times, and here is how this special extra credit for military service actually works:
The credit is not an additional amount which will be added to your monthly Social Security payment as a bonus for serving. Rather it is an additional dollar amount which has already been added to your earnings record for the years you served in the military. Those receiving active duty military pay have contributed to Social Security since 1957, and the record of your military pay is already on file with Social Security. But a long time ago Congress decided to bump up the recorded earnings of those with earlier military service to make it easier for them to qualify for Social Security, and to possibly provide a slightly higher benefit when the earnings from those years in the military are included in the computation of SS benefits.
To compute your benefit, Social Security uses the 35 highest earning years from your lifetime time earnings record (adjusted for inflation). So, if your earnings during the years you were in the military are among the 35 years used to calculate your SS benefit, those military earnings were supplemented with an additional amount to make them up to $1200 per year higher than you were actually paid. And that higher earnings amount possibly means you’re getting a higher Social Security benefit because it could make your lifetime Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) higher (a higher AIME translates to a higher benefit amount). All of that happened automatically.
There are a couple of different formulae used depending upon which years military service occurred, but in your case you were credited with an additional $100 in earnings for every $300 in active duty pay each year, up to a maximum of $1200 per year of service. In any case, the special extra earnings are an addition to your military pay record on file with Social Security, not an additional dollar amount added to your Social Security benefit, and that credit has already been applied to your earnings record.
The best way to confirm this is to obtain your lifetime earnings statement from Social Security (you can call to request it or get it using your personal online “my Social Security” account at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount). Once you have your lifetime earnings statement, review your earnings on record for the years you served to ensure that the extra credit has been applied. Of course, that’s only possible if you know what your military pay actually was in those years, so it may be necessary to call Social Security directly and ask them to confirm that those extra earnings credits were applied. Here’s a link to Social Security’s rules on this: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement/planner/military.html
Ronald, again, thank you for your service, and if you have any further questions about Social Security please don’t hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected], or call us at 1.888.750.2622.
National Social Security Advisor
The AMAC Foundation