For military veterans approaching retirement age, there may be questions about potential additional Social Security for veterans as a reward for their service. This article aims to shed light on the “Special Extra Credit for Military Service,” clarifying how it works and its impact on Social Security for veterans’ benefits.
Extra Social Security for Veterans
The “Special Extra Credit for Military Service” is not a simple monetary boost to Social Security for veterans payments, as it is often misunderstood. Instead, certain older veterans receive extra credit for their earnings for the years they served in the military.
According to a published article, these Social Security for veterans’ extra earnings are applied only to specific years of service, adding additional dollars to their actual earnings record for those service years.
The amount of Social Security for veterans extra credit added to a veteran’s true service-year earnings varies depending on the period of service. For instance, veterans who served between 1957 and 1977 see an increase of $300 for each full quarter with active duty pay, up to a maximum of $1,200 additional earnings per service year.
For those who served between 1978 and 2001, the maximum annual earnings credit remains consistent at $1,200. However, veterans who served before 1957 or after 2001 are not eligible for these extra earnings credits under the current formula.
When veterans apply for Social Security benefits, the administration reviews their lifetime earnings records. They adjust each year’s earnings to reflect today’s dollar value and select the highest earning in 35 years to calculate the “Primary Insurance Amount” or “PIA.” The PIA represents the benefits veterans are entitled to at full retirement age.
If a veteran’s military service years are among the highest-earning 35 years, the “Special Extra Credit for Military Service” will result in a slightly higher PIA, leading to a modest increase in their monthly Social Security benefit.
On the other hand, if their military service years do not rank among the top 35 earners, these extra credits will have no effect on their benefit amount.
Process of Applying for Extra Social Security for Veterans
The process of applying for these special Social Security for veterans extra credits varies based on the period of service.
Veterans who served before 1968 need to provide their DD-214 form to receive the extra credits, while those who served between 1968 and 2001 automatically receive the credits based on their military service records.
For veterans who served between 1968 and 2001, the Social Security Administration automatically incorporates the extra earnings into their records if those years rank among the top 35 earners.
Veterans with at least 35 years in their lifetime earnings history that surpass their earnings during military service will already have their current benefit amount reflecting the additional entitlement from these credits.
To review their earnings during their military service years, veterans can obtain a copy of their lifetime earnings history from Social Security. The easiest way to access this information is through their personal “My Social Security” account on www.ssa.gov/myaccount.
In conclusion, while the “Special Extra Credit for Military Service” isn’t a straightforward boost to Social Security for veterans’ benefits, it can significantly impact veterans’ monthly payments if their military service years are among the highest earners in their lifetime records.