You Can Boost Your Monthly Social Security Check If You’re a Veteran

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If you were in active service during certain periods of time, it’s possible to add to your monthly social security benefit.

See: 25 Serious Financial Advantages You Get From Military ServiceFind: 11 Social Security Mistakes That Can Cost You a Fortune

According to the Social Security Administration, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including duty for training) from 1957 through 2001, you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record. These extra earnings credits may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

The extra amount you are eligible for depends on when you served. Here’s how the SSA credits the extra earnings on your record:

  • From 1957 through 1977: You are 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 are credited with an additional $100 in earnings, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year.

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From 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, reported 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 any one of the following circumstances:

  • You served at least 90 days of service before being honorably discharged or released because of a disability or injury you received in the line of duty
  • You are still serving on active duty
  • You are applying for survivors benefits based on the record of a veteran who died while on active duty
Are You Retirement Ready?

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When you apply for Social Security benefits, the SSA will automatically verify your military service for you. If your military service increases your benefit amount and the SSA cannot obtain proof of your military service, you will be required to provide your DD-214 or other proof of service before your application is processed. In all cases, the administration will add military wage credits to your overall earnings as opposed to your monthly benefit payment. This does, however, end up adding to your benefit payment every month once your overall earnings are increased.

Important to note: If you enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980 and did not complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be eligible to receive the additional earnings.

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