For each $890 you earn, you receive one Social Security "credit"
up to four per year
Most people need 40 credits to be eligible for retirement benefits
Younger people need fewer credits to qualify for disability
and survivors benefits
To qualify for benefits, you earn "credits" through your work--up
to four each year. This year, for example, you earn one credit for
each $890 of wages. When you've earned $3,560, you've earned four
credits for the year. The amount needed for each credit goes up each
year to reflect increases in average wages. The number of credits
you need to qualify for Social Security depends on your age and the
type of benefit you might be eligible to receive. No one needs more
than 40 credits (10 years of work or military service) to be eligible
for Social Security.
Your Social Security benefit depends on your earnings averaged over
your working lifetime. Generally, the higher your earnings, the higher
your Social Security benefit.
Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your
military pay record for Social Security purposes. The extra earnings
credits are granted for periods of active duty or active duty for
training. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security
or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit. (No additional
earnings are granted for inactive duty training, and Social Security
cannot add extra earnings credits to your earnings record until you
file for Social Security benefits.)
Additional earnings are granted for:
Service In 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 Sept. 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. After 2001, additional earnings
will no longer be credited. Check with Social Security for details.
Service In 1957 Through 1977
You are credited with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar
quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.
Service In 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 Sept. 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.
You cannot receive these special earnings credits if you're
receiving a federal benefit based on the same years of service.
There is one exception to this rule: if you were on active
duty after 1956, you can still get the special earnings for
1951 through 1956, even if you're receiving a military retirement
based on service during that period.