Saturday, January 20, 2007

Extra Social Security Benefits for Veterans

A debt of gratitude goes to Larry Scott for his most excellent website VA Watchdog dot org for this invaluable tip (among many others). All Veterans of all ages should visit this site regularly. In the meantime, check out this benefit for Veterans who are receiving Social Security benefits, or who are, or will soon be applying for Social Security benefits.

The following is from the Social Security Administration’s website on
Special Extra Earnings for Military Service:

Special Extra Earnings for Military Service
Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for your military service from 1940 through 2001 can be credited to your record for Social Security purposes. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

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.

Note: Social Security cannot add these extra earnings to your record until you file for Social Security benefits.

How You Get Credit For Special Extra Earnings
The information that follows applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1940 through 2001. 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.

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.

We urge all veterans recewiving or having filed for Social Security benefits, who served any time between 1940 and 2001 to contact their local Social Security Administration and provide them with a copy of the pertinent pages from your Military Personnel Records showing the dates of all of your active duty and active duty for training. For reservists, this will require more than a DD-214. Your records should show when you went to Boot Camp if you returned to your reserve unit afterwards, awaiting orders to go to active duty. Reservists also will qualify quarters in which they did their 2 weeks active duty for training. Those who did the 28 day June-July split will qualify for two quarters for that year. Anyone mobilized or activated for TAD will earn qualifying quarters, and each quarter registers $300 more in your earned income for Social Security calculations, resulting in a higher monthly payment for Social Security Retirement or Disability.

Please do not delay this if you are already receiving or have filed for Social Security benefits. If you soon expect to file for Social Security Benefits, you should acquire a copy of your Military Personnel Records as soon as possible if you do not already have a copy. A link is in the sidebar that will take you to a National Archives website to order a copy of your records.


“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.”
-- President Abraham Lincoln

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious."--President George Washington

Copyright © 2007: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.


  1. Anonymous21:21

    Thank Yoy Very Much.

  2. Anonymous08:10

    My late husband was receiving SSDI from 1992 until his death in 2006. We were not aware of this extra pay for active duty. (He served in Vietnam 67-69). I'm now receiving SS based on his earnings. Can I apply for this extra benefit that he would have been intitled to? your site!

  3. Well, I don't know, but I suspect you may be. I do know it isn't very much, but you can call your local SSA Office and ask them to check. My own was already factored in.

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I hope you are getting VA benefits.


  4. George Robinson03:13

    I signed up for SS benefits on 6/29/10 and armed with the special benefits information submitted the DD214 and asked the desk agent what the additional increase would amount to. The agent stated that my benefit would increase by thirty cents. (.30) My DD214 states quite clearly that my active service is 4 years, 11 months and includes the Vietnam service ribbon. The agent knew me through my social security number but described my military service as "alleged" even though the DD214 references my SS number. Either this extra benefit is a scam or the "alleged" experts at the SS office aren't well informed of this benefit. The Lakeville, Ma Veteran's agent isn't very knowledgeable either and is not even a veteran.

  5. George Robinson,

    Please contact me via the Email Me Link near the top of the left sidebar.




  7. Duane11:51

    My dad served full time in the Navy from 1961 to 1970 and was told by someone at Social Security that she didn't know what he was talking about. Can you point me somewhere that simply spells out what he is eligible for so I can point it out to the people at the SSA.

    Thank you

  8. Duane,

    Just take this link to the Social Security Office.

    The link is also in the blog entry above.


  9. Anonymous14:36

    My husband collects SSDI since 2010 or 2011. He was in the Navy 1969-1973 (was not in Vietnam) he just heard about this "military credit" on a Navy blog. How do we find out if he is eligible for increased benefits?

    Thank you,

    1. Ruth,
      Cet to your closest Social Security office and have them check. It doesn't take long. And most likely, if he is eligible, it won't be a lot of money. But it makes a difference.

  10. Is the $300 a quarter factored in once with the social security and that makes up your monthly payment? My husband gets $5.00 extra for military service, is that the Special Extra Earnings?

  11. Mrs. Lippert,

    Assuming your husband served between 1957 and 2001, he would be credited as noted in the two sections above. In most cases, SSA already has made any adjustments required to your monthly check. But if you applied to have them check to see if he was credited properly and you are receiving an extra $5/month, it sounds like it is all taken care of. We note in the post that we are not talking large amounts of increases. So, it seems to us that your first sentence is spot on.

  12. Anonymous18:14

    my dd214 discharge honorable but my certificate is a DD form 256A and I was regular army do I have any benfits

  13. I don't know why you received a @14 and a 226. 226 is for discharge from a reserve unit. Nevertheless, you should get credit for every month on Active Duty, and your ACDUTRA as a reservist.

    That said, you'll find that the Social Security Administration already has credited your active duty time. And unless you were of high rank, what they might have missed is really not worth going after. Still, you should go to your local SSA office with all your military records and ask them if what they say matches what SSA has.
    Hope that helps.

  14. Anonymous17:00

    If your service was after 1968 it has already been added in to your payments.

    From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.