Service From 1940 Through 1956
If you were in the military during this period, including attendance at a service academy, you did not pay Social Security taxes. However, your Social Security record may be credited with $160 a month in earnings for military service from Sep. 16, 1940, through Dec. 31, 1956, under the following circumstances:
- You were honorably discharged after 90 or more days of service, or you were released because of a disability or injury received in the line of duty or
- You are still on active duty or
- You are applying for survivors benefits and the veteran died while on active duty.
Contacting Social Security
- “TTY” 800-325-0778.
Service From 1978 Through 2001
For every $300 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. If you enlisted after Sep. 7, 1980, and didn’t complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details.
Am I Receiving Extra Social Security Credit For My Military Service
Social Security rules are complicated and change often. For the most recent Ask Larry columns, check out maximizemysocialsecurity.com/ask-larry.
Boston University economist Larry Kotlikoff has spent every week, for over two years, answering questions about what is likely your largest financial asset your Social Security benefits. His Social Security original 34 secrets, his additional secrets, his Social Security mistakes and his Social Security gotchas have prompted so many of you to write in that we feature Ask Larry every Monday. Find a complete list of his columns here. And keep sending us your Social Security questions.
Kotlikoffs state-of-the-art retirement software is available here, for free, in its basic version. His new book, Get Whats Yours the Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security Benefits, was published in February by Simon & Schuster.
Below, Larry explains the file-and-suspend and spousal benefit strategy to Paul, which got Paul and his wife an extra $50,000 in benefits.
Anonymous Sante Fe, N.M.: A retired military friend of mine brought to my attention that I may be due special extra earnings for active duty for training and inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves. I served in both of those capacities from March 1980 through July 1984 then went to inactive reserve status until Nov. 1986 when I received an honorable discharge.
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What Is The Difference Between The Employee/employer Pay Plan And The Employer Pay Plan How Does The Choice Of Plan Affect My Retirement Benefit
Under the Employee/Employer Pay Plan the member pays 50% of the retirement contributions through a payroll deduction and the employer pays the other 50% of the contributions. If you terminate employment, you may elect to refund the employee contributions you personally paid into the system, which will cancel your membership in PERS. Under the Employer Pay Plan , the employee pays for their portion of the contribution through a salary reduction or in lieu of pay increase and the employer pays 100% of the retirement contributions to PERS. Under this plan, the member does not accrue refundable contributions and will retain their service credit in the event of termination. In addition, your average compensation is adjusted at the time of retirement if you are under the ER Paid plan.
Whether or not you will have the choice between the two contribution plans when you are newly hired depends upon the public employer in which you work. Some public employers require mandatory participation under the ER Paid plan for their employees and others, like the State, allow for a choice.
Regardless of which plan you are under, you share equally in the PERS contribution rate and there is no difference in how your monthly benefit will be calculated.
Social Security Prototype Bill
AMACs founder, Dan Weber, has been in the forefront of the fight to address the problems facing Americas Social Security program. Put simply, the program is paying out more than its taking in, causing a gradual depletion of the Social Security Trust Fund. If left unchecked, projections are that this depletion will cause the Trust Fund balance to be exhausted by 2034, with the result being a scale-down of paymentsas much as 25%to Social Security recipients. As an action-oriented association, AMAC is resolved to do its part to call for action on this very serious problem.Most recently, AMAC has developed a bipartisan compromise bill, titled Social Security Guarantee Act,” taking selected portions of bills introduced by Rep. Sam Johnson and Rep. John Larson and merging them with the Associations original legislative framework to create the new Act.AMAC representatives have been resolute in their mission to get the attention of lawmakers in Washington, meeting with many, many congressional offices and their legislative staffs over the past several years. The Association is gaining ground every day, and you can help–support AMAC in this fight by contacting your congressional representative to add your voice! Visit the Associations website at www.AMAC.us to learn more about AMACs proposed solution and to obtain a copy of a document outlining the steps that AMAC advocates to resolve this very serious problem.
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Get Connected With Mental Health Careno Matter Your Discharge Status Service History Or Eligibility For Va Health Care
If you need support for a specific mental health problemor if youre having problems sleeping, controlling your anger, or readjusting to civilian lifeyou are not alone. And we can help.
To access free VA mental health services right away:
- anytime, day or night.
- Call us at . Were here Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. If you have hearing loss, call TTY: .
You dont need to be enrolled in VA health care to get care.
Find out if you qualify for VA education benefits to help pay for school or training. If you qualify for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, learn how to transfer your unused benefits to your spouse or dependent children. Open to service members and Veterans
Review the requirements for getting a Certificate of Eligibility to buy, build, improve, or refinance a home. Open to service members and Veterans
Find out if you qualify for and how to manage your SGLI coverage, and learn about coverage options for you and your family after separation or retirement. Open to service members and Veterans
Other Va Benefits To Consider As A Veteran
File a claim for disability compensation for conditions related to your military service, and manage your benefits over time. Open to Veterans
- Support for Veteran-owned small businesses
If you served on active duty, register to do business with VA and get support for your Veteran-owned small business. If you have a service-connected disability related to active-duty service or training, you may qualify to register as a service-disabled Veteran-owned small business. Open to Veterans
If you served on active duty during wartime, are at least 65 years old or have a service-connected disability, and have limited or no income, find out if you qualify for Veterans Pension benefits. Open to active-duty Veterans only
If you need help with your daily activities or youre housebound, check whether you’re eligible to have increased aid added to your monthly Veterans Pension payments. Open to active-duty Veterans only
If you have a service-connected disability, find out how to apply for a housing grant to make changes to your home so you can live more independently. Open to Veterans
Explore life insurance coverage options and services for you and your family, and manage your policy online. Open to Veterans
Apply for a pre-need eligibility decision letter to confirm that you qualify for burial in a VA national cemetery. This can help you pre-plan, and it can make the process easier for your family members in their time of need. Open to active-duty Veterans only
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If You’re Not Sure Why You Received A Payment
If you receive a check or direct deposit payment from the Treasury Department and do not know what its for, contact the regional financial center that issued it. Only the agency that authorized the payment can explain why you received it.
If you received a check, look for the RFCs city and state at the top center. Then contact that RFC to find out which federal agency authorized the payment. It will be one of these:
If you received payment byelectronic funds transfer , or direct deposit, follow the directions under Find Information About a Payment.
Use the Treasury Check Verification System to verify that the check is legitimate and issued by the government.
Getting A Social Security Number For A New Baby
The easiest way to get a Social Security number for your child is at the hospital after they are born when you apply for your childs birth certificate. If you wait to apply for a number at a Social Security office, there may be delays while SSA verifies your childs birth certificate.
Your child will need their own Social Security number so you can:
- Claim your child as a dependent on your income tax return
- Open a bank account in their name
- Get medical coverage for them
- Apply for government services for them
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Social Security Normal Age Of Retirement
Until 2002, the normal retirement age for everyone was at the age of 65. According to the Social Security Administration, the normal retirement age is the age a which beneficiaries receive full Social Security Benefits. The list below shows the normal retirement age based on the year you were born.
- 1937 or earlier 65 years of age
- 1938 65 and 2 months
- 1939 65 and 4 months
- 1940 65 and 6 months
- 1941 65 and 8 months
- 1942- 65 and 10 months
- 1943-1954 66 years of age
- 1955 66 and 2 months
- 1956 66 and 4 months
- 1957 66 and 6 months
- 1958 66 and 8 months
- 1959 66 and 10 months
- 1960 or later 67 years of age
Your Social Security Benefits May Increase To Keep Up With Inflation
The government applies an annual Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, to Social Security Benefits each year. The COLA is based on the Consumer Price Index, or CPI. How much it increases depends on how the cost of living has changed over the course of the previous 4 quarters. The government also recently transitioned to Chained CPI, which impacts how the COLA calculations are made each year.
What Is Average Compensation
The average of a member’s 36 highest consecutive months of compensation as certified by the public employer.
For members newly enrolled in PERS on or after January 1, 2010, the average compensation shall be based on the average of the 36 highest consecutive months of compensation subject to a 10% salary cap.
Expedited Ssdi Benefits For Disabled Veterans
More than 800,000 disabled SSDI claimants throughout the United States are currently waiting for disability benefits approvals. The average wait time for claimants is 18 months. Some claimants wait more than three years for approval. The massive SSDI backlog means most applicants are left waiting in limbo, unable to work to pay for housing, food, or medical care. In 2017, more than 10,000 disability applicants died before their claims fully processed.
As a disabled veteran, the extensive wait time to receive SSDI benefits may not apply to you. If you became disabled while actively serving in the military anytime after October 1, 2001, you may qualify for expedited claims processing. This means you could begin receiving monthly payments in just a matter of weeks.
Even if your claim is expedited, however, processing time depends on how quickly the SSA receives your medical evidence, whether there are mistakes or omissions in your application, the nature of your disability and whether a consultative exam is necessary.
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What Does It Mean To Be Vested
Vesting refers to the time period necessary for you to work in order to earn the right to receive a retirement benefit. For example, once you have attained 5 years of service we consider you “vested” in the system and eligible to receive retirement benefits at age 65. Vesting also occurs at other time periods such as 10, 20, 25 and 30 years, which makes you eligible to receive benefits earlier than age 65.
Avoid Garnishments That Reduce Your Benefits
As a general rule, Social Security benefits are protected from the majority of debt collection actions. This is not the case with back taxes, outstanding federal student loans, child support and alimony. If you have any of these debts lurking in your past, take the necessary steps to satisfy your debt obligations to protect your benefits from garnishments.
When you understand how your benefits work and what you can do to increase your Social Security paycheck. For many retirees this paycheck may be the only form of income they will receive during their retirement years. Whether Social Security is your only source of income or a supplement to other sources of income, it is important that you get the benefits to which you are entitled.
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Pose Your Questions To Larry Here
However, I do not see any extra added income to those years to apply any extra credit. The SSA webpage indicates that for every $300 of military pay earned, you will be credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to $1,200 a year. What I dont know is how to tell if I have been given these extra credits in my current benefit. The SSA website states that From 1968 through 2001, you dont need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record. Id like to be sure of this as I dont see evidence in my SSA earnings record that shows me how this has been added to my benefit.
Another thing that makes me think that I have not been given this credit is that when I applied for Social Security online, I was never given the opportunity to insert any of my military service info. I called the SSA and spoke to someone about this. Unfortunately, it was after I started receiving my Social Security benefit, which was also after my retired military friend told me about the extra credits. The SSA representative told me the reason I didnt get prompted by the online application for military service is because it is invoked based on the persons age. He said I am too young to have served in Korea or WWII. This, to me, appears to be a flaw in the application process because that doesnt account then for armed forces reserves for the period from 1968 through 2001 talked about on their website.
Use This Information To Assist Your Retirement Planning
If you are unsure of where you stand with benefit amounts, you can contact the Social Security Administration to request a copy of a current statement of benefits. Your individualized statement will include pay outs for benefits taken at age 62, at your normal age of retirement, and at the age of 70. Statements are available at the SSA.gov website.
Youll need to assess your own financial situation to determine your need and time frame for benefits. If you have the means to support yourself, you may find it beneficial to wait as long as you can to request benefits.
If you can not live without the additional funds even before reaching your normal age of retirement, you should consider taking the reduced benefit payments to stay on track financially. The decision should be based on your needs, the age of your spouse, and even your life expectancy based on your present medical situation and family history.
When you become of age to start drawing Social Security, not only will you receive your normal Social Security benefits, youll also receive added benefits for serving in the military if you served in the years mentioned above. Remember to verify you are receiving this additional benefit. You should also double check for this benefit when applying for Social Security survivor benefits to make sure survivors are receiving the additional military service credits.
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Get Ssa Benefits While Living Abroad
U.S. citizens can travel to or live in most, but not all, foreign countries and still receive their Social Security benefits. You can find out if you can receive benefits overseas by using the Social Security Administrations payment verification tool. Once you access the tool, pick the country you’re visiting or living in from the drop-down menu options.
Social Security And You: Vets Being Duped By Social Security Rumor Mill
Not a week goes by when I dont get emails, such as the one here, from veterans who have been led to believe that they are missing out on extra Social Security benefits allegedly payable to people who served in the military:
Tom: Ive been told that as a veteran, I should be getting an extra $120 per month added to my Social Security check. They said all I have to do is take my DD-214 down to my local Social Security office and they will start paying me the extra money. What can you tell me about this?
As is so often the case with these rumors, there is a tiny kernel of truth to the story. But then false information takes over and things get blown way out of proportion.
Here are the facts: If you were in the military anytime up until 2001, the government may add a small amount of additional earnings to your Social Security record. And note that I am NOT talking about extra money added to your Social Security check. These are simply extra earnings incorporated into your Social Security earnings record the earnings record upon which your Social Security monthly benefit is based.
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