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Has Your Military Service Earned Special Credits for Social Security?

If you are a service member or a veteran planning for retirement or applying for Social Security disability, you should be aware that your active duty service earns you extra wage credits. Since wage credits are used to calculate Social Security benefits, your retirement and/or disability benefits may be higher than you think.

Not all veterans get credits; different amounts have gone to veterans who served at various times throughout our history, as follows:

  • 1940 through 1956 — Active duty service members receive an extra $160 in Social Security earnings credits for each month of military service.
  • 1957 through 1977 — For every calendar quarter in which a service member earned active duty basic pay, Social Security credits an additional $300 in earnings.
  • 1978 through 2001 — For every $300 in active duty basic pay, Social Security credits an extra $100, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. Service members who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, and did not complete 24 months of active duty may not receive these additional credits.
  • 2002 through the present — Congress eliminated the program in 2001, so active duty service members during this period no longer receive special credits.

Service members don’t have to apply for these added benefits, but it’s important to know you’re entitled to them in case the Social Security Administration fails to properly credit you. To correct an error by SSA, you would have to present proof of your military service, such as a DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.

At Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban, we fight to ensure that all veterans receive the full measure of benefits they’re entitled to. This includes Social Security disability. If you are receiving VA disability, you may also be eligible for SSD. Unfortunately, more than two-thirds of applicants for SSD have their claims rejected. If this happens to you, an experienced and knowledgeable disability lawyer at our firm will be happy to help.

The VA benefits attorneys at Marcari, Russotto, Spencer & Balaban have more than 200 years of combined legal experience. To learn how we can help with an appeal of denied disability benefits, call 866-866-VETS or contact our office online.

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