Under certain circumstances, veterans who served between 1940 and 2001 can be credited for special extra earnings for Social Security purposes.
These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.
The special extra earnings are granted for periods of active duty or active duty for training. Special extra earnings are not granted for inactive duty training.
Social Security cannot add these extra earnings to your record until you file for Social Security benefits.
Here's How It Works
The information that follows applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1940 through 2001.
This program adds to your overall income factor and may have little effect on your actual monthly Social Security benefit, as the increased earnings does not automatically equate to an equal increase in monthly benefits.
Here's how the special extra earnings are credited:
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 September 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.
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.
Note: The increased earnings do not automatically give you an equal increase in monthly benefits.
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 September 16, 1940, through December 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 credit for these special extra earnings if you are already receiving a federal benefit based on the same years of service. There is one exception: 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.
Contacting Social Security