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Veterans and Social Security
Old 05-22-2010, 11:26 AM   #1
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Veterans and Social Security

I just found this tidbit on the VA website, regarding social security and veterans:

Servicemembers and veterans are credited with $300 credit in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which they received active duty basic pay after 1956 and before 1978.

Veterans who served in the military from 1978 through 2001 are credited with an additional $100 in earnings for each $300 in active duty basic pay, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. No additional Social Security taxes are withheld from pay for these extra credits. Veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, and did not complete at least 24 months of active duty or their full tour of duty, may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details. Additional earnings will no longer be credited for military service periods after 2001.

Also, non-contributory Social Security earnings of $160 a month may be credited to veterans who served after Sept. 15, 1940, and before 1957, including attendance at service academies. For information, call 1-800-772-1213 or visit Social Security Online - The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration. (Note: Social Security cannot add these extra earnings to the record until an application is filed for Social Security benefits.)


I believe the original intent for this rule was a belief that veterans were getting shortchanged on social security because a chunk of our compensation (BAQ. BAS etc.) was excluded from SS earnings. As I read this, if trying to estimate your SS benefits using the calculator on the SSA site, a veteran should increase the earnings for each year as appropriate under the foregoing rule.
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Old 05-22-2010, 04:41 PM   #2
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Thanks for the info Gumby. Makes the old DD 214 even more valuable. Every little bit helps...
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Old 05-22-2010, 11:35 PM   #3
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I only have 1976-77. I would imagine the additional money would be pretty small. Too bad you can't apply to the years after that. I have a 22 year career, but enlisted in '76.

I've skimmed over this provision before, but never quite understood it's purpose, or why it only exist for the specified timeframe.

I'm more concerned about making it to 62 before they pass a reform act that would affect me.
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Old 05-23-2010, 07:21 AM   #4
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From reading the provision, it doesn't seem like you would be limited to just your first two years. I assume that you made more than $3600 per year in basic pay each year from 1978 through the end of your career. If so, it would seem that you could add $1200 to every year of your service. I have no idea how much that would be in additional social security benefits.

This report from the Social Security Administration explains why they started and later stopped this special veterans credit.

Military Veterans and Social Security
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:44 AM   #5
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Thanks Gumby.

When I ER... I will have a total of 35 years of actual earnings... so when I apply for SS it should help out a little.

http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm
http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/military.htm

Quote:
SSA Website

If your active military service occurred
  • From 1957 through 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
  • From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.
  • After 2001, there are no special extra earnings credits for military service.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:57 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
Thanks Gumby.

Anybody know if this is automatically applied to veterans earnings or do vets need to notify SSA when they apply for SS?
It was automatically applied in my case, although the SS folks did ask for a copy of my DD214 when I filed to begin receiving benefits. The small additional earnings amount had been included in all my annual SS statements, so they and the online SS benefit calculator turned out to accurately predict the amount of my SS check.

I'm sure this is because my date of service was after 1967.
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:01 PM   #7
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The small additional earnings amount had been included in all my annual SS statements, so they and the online SS benefit calculator turned out to accurately predict the amount of my SS check.

I'm sure this is because my date of service was after 1967.
Doe it show separately on your annual SS statement? I was active duty from 4/80 - 7/87 but do not see any additional or special amount on my earnings statement for those years. I don't have any personal records or recall to remember my base pay at that time.
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Old 05-23-2010, 02:12 PM   #8
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I wondered the same thing, having been on active duty from 1981 to 1986. As a check, I got out my 1985 income tax package and compared the FICA wages reported on my W2 for that year to the earnings record in the statement I most recently received from Social Security. The additional $1200 was not reported in my SS record of earnings. I got the impression that it gets added once you apply.
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Old 05-23-2010, 03:01 PM   #9
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I just filed online yesterday. There are no questions about military history, and no requirements to send DD-214. However, the office is not open yet, so they still may require me to drop it by.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:26 PM   #10
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From the other posts here, I'm just wondering if the military credit isn't already figured into the estimate they send out every year.
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Old 05-23-2010, 04:55 PM   #11
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Doe it show separately on your annual SS statement? I was active duty from 4/80 - 7/87 but do not see any additional or special amount on my earnings statement for those years. I don't have any personal records or recall to remember my base pay at that time.
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I wondered the same thing, having been on active duty from 1981 to 1986. As a check, I got out my 1985 income tax package and compared the FICA wages reported on my W2 for that year to the earnings record in the statement I most recently received from Social Security. The additional $1200 was not reported in my SS record of earnings. I got the impression that it gets added once you apply.
I've seen nothing showing the added earnings credit broken out separately on my records. It is my understanding based on the info chinaco quoted above from the SS website that those additional earnings had been included in my record from day one and had always been reflected in my earnings statements. I have nothing to verify the added credits are there and have no record of my earnings to be able to go back and check, I'm simply trusting the SSA when they say they are automatically added and there was nothing I need do to get them included.

If I didn't get credit I wonder how much difference the added $1,200 per year in earnings would make in my monthly benefit - probably not enough to make it worthwhile wading through the customer service labyrinth at the SSA to find out...
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Old 05-23-2010, 08:09 PM   #12
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I just filed online yesterday. There are no questions about military history, and no requirements to send DD-214. However, the office is not open yet, so they still may require me to drop it by.
I asked SSA a while ago (2006) about this very issue. Their response~ "When you apply for your benefits we will ask you to furnish proof of your active duty military service (DD214)."

Let us know how it goes as I will be applying for SS later in the year and will benefit from your response.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:13 PM   #13
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Well, I've got my DD214 from when I retired, but it only shows date of retirement and total previous service. One could make the assumption the service was continious, and backtrack the years to arrive at a start date. But some folks have broken service, so I don't know how SSA could verify the dates.

Only other way is to have the paperwork from each reenlistment. Which for some of us may be difficult to find or acquire.

The extra money better be at least 100 bucks a month, before I'd consider engaging in any lengthy bureaucratic excercise to get it.

I'm inclined to think these credits were included when you paid FICA on your military paycheck in the applicable years.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:23 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by mickeyd View Post
Their response~ "When you apply for your benefits we will ask you to furnish proof of your active duty military service (DD214)."
This is what they did when I applied online in October of 2008.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:48 PM   #15
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Here's the answer as to when the credits are added:

Military Service And Social Security

Scroll down the page to this:

From 1957 through 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by BLS53 View Post
Here's the answer as to when the credits are added:

Military Service And Social Security

Scroll down the page to this:

From 1957 through 1967, we will add the extra credits to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.
Yes, chinaco quoted that in post #5 above and I also referred to it and provided a link in post #11...
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:56 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Yes, chinaco quoted that in post #5 above and I also referred to it and provided a link in post #11...
I understand, but there still seemed to be some confusion in the posts after that.
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Old 05-23-2010, 09:57 PM   #18
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Gotcha.
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Old 05-23-2010, 10:10 PM   #19
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My 1985 W2 does not match my record of earnings from SSA, so I question whether the $1200 is really and truly added automatically. Maybe it should be, but in my case at least, it does not appear to have been done.

Edit: Actually, I should say that the amounts do match. i.e. - there is not an extra $1200 on my SS earning record.
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Old 05-24-2010, 04:04 AM   #20
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Well I guess the question is can you get copies of W-2's for these years from either the DOD or IRS as it sounds like there are cases where it was not automatically added. Maybe a DD Form 214 will be sufficient but probably not in the first and last year of service as one was only employed for part of the year.

I am sure there are a lot of us who after 7 years from the date filed, countless moves do not have the tax records from the time we were in the service.

I have found a couple of military/veterans websites where both state the additional amounts are NOT added until you apply for SS. I would not trust this has automatically been done.

VNVets: Extra Social Security Benefits for Veterans

Special Military Social Security Rate - Military Benefits - Military.com
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