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Friday, April 27, 2018

2018 Military Service and Social Security

OFF THE WIRE
Earnings for active duty military service or active duty
training have been covered under Social Security
since 1957.
Social Security has covered inactive duty service in
the armed forces reserves (such as weekend drills)
since 1988.
If you served in the military before 1957, you didn’t
pay Social Security taxes, but we gave you special
credit for some of your service.
You can get both Social Security benefits and military
retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social
Security benefits because of your military retirement
benefits. You’ll get your full Social Security benefit
based on your earnings.
Social Security and Medicare taxes
While you’re in military service, you pay Social
Security taxes, just as civilian employees do. You
currently pay a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on
up to $128,400 of your earnings. The Medicare tax
rate is 1.45 percent on all wages, and high-income
earners pay an additional 0.9 percent on earnings
above certain amounts.
How your work qualifies you for
Social Security
To qualify for benefits, you must earn credits by
working and paying Social Security taxes. The
number of credits you need to qualify depends on
your age and the type of benefit for which you’re
eligible. In 2018, you’ll receive four credits if you earn
at least $5,280. The minimum amount of earnings
needed to get credit for your work goes up each year.
The maximum number of credits you can earn in one
year is four. No one needs more than 10 years of
work, or 40 credits.
Extra earnings
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 are 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.
If you served in the military after 1956, you paid
Social Security taxes on those earnings. Since 1988,
inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves
(such as weekend drills) has also been covered by
Social Security.
Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for
periods of active duty from 1957 through 2001 can also
be credited to your Social Security earnings record.
From 1957 through 1967,
we will add the extra
credits to your record when you apply for Social
Security benefits.
From 1968 through 2001,
you don’t need to do
anything to receive these extra credits. The credits
were automatically added to your record.
After 2001,
there are no special extra earnings
credits for military service.
The information that follows explains how you can
get credit for special extra earnings and applies only
to active duty military service earnings from
1957
through 2001
.
From 1957 through 1977,
you’re credited with
$300 in additional earnings for each calendar
quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.
From 1978 through 2001,
for every $300 in active
duty basic pay, you’re 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.
If you served in the military from 1940 through
1956,
including attendance at a service academy,
you didn’t 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’re still on active duty; or
You’re applying for survivors benefits and the
veteran died while on active duty.
You can’t receive credit for these special earnings if
you’re 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.
These extra earnings credits are added to your
earnings record when you apply for Social
Security benefits.
NOTE:
In all cases, the additional earnings are credited
to the earnings that we average over your working
lifetime, not directly to your monthly benefit amount.
Your benefits
In addition to retirement benefits, Social Security pays
survivors benefits to your family when you die. You
also can get Social Security benefits for you and your
family if you become disabled. For more information
about these benefits, ask us for
Understanding the
Benefits
(Publication No. 05-10024)
.
If you became disabled while on active military
service on or after October 1, 2001, visit
www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors
to find
out how you can receive expedited processing of
your disability claim.
When you apply for Social Security benefits,
you’ll be asked for proof of your military service
(DD Form 214) or information about your Reserve or
National Guard service.
When you are eligible for Medicare
If you have health care insurance from the Department
of Veterans Affairs (VA) or under the TRICARE or
CHAMPVA program, your health benefits may change
or end when you become eligible for Medicare. You
should contact the VA, the Department of Defense or a
military health benefits advisor for more information

You can work and get retirement benefits
You can retire as early as age 62. But if you do, your
Social Security benefits will be reduced and won’t be
increased when you reach full retirement age. If you
decide to apply for benefits before your full retirement
age, you can work and still get some Social Security
benefits. There are limits on how much you can earn
without losing some or all of your retirement benefits.
These limits change each year. When you apply for
benefits, we’ll tell you what the limits are at that time
and whether work will affect your monthly benefits.
When you reach your full retirement age, you can
earn as much as you are able and still get all of your
Social Security benefits.
The full retirement age is 66 for people born from
1943 through 1954, and it will gradually increase
to age 67 for those born in 1960 and later. To help
you decide the best time to retire, contact us for
Retirement Benefits
(Publication No. 05-10035)
.
Contacting Social Security
The most convenient way to contact us anytime,
anywhere is to visit
www.socialsecurity.gov
.
There, you can: apply for benefits; open a
my
Social Security
account, which you can use
to review your
Social Security Statement
, verify
your earnings, print a benefit verification letter,
change your direct deposit information, request a
replacement Medicare card, and get a replacement
SSA-1099/1042S; obtain valuable information;
find publications
; get answers to frequently asked
questions
; and much more.
If you don’t have access to the internet, we
offer many automated services by telephone,
24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call us toll-free
at
1-800-772-1213
or at our TTY number,
1-800-325-0778
, if you’re deaf or hard of hearing.
If you need to speak to a person, we can answer your
calls from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
We ask for your patience during busy periods since
you may experience a higher than usual rate of busy
signals and longer hold times to speak to us. We look
forward to serving you.