Ask Rusty – About Special Extra Earnings for Military Service

by | Jul 2, 2020 | Latest, Opinion

Dear Rusty: How do I find out if I get any extra earnings for my military service of 28 years (Navy, 1982-2011), when I begin collecting my full Social Security retirement benefit next year (in July 2021)? Signed: Retired Veteran

 

Dear Retired Veteran: First, as a fellow veteran, I want to thank you for your 28 years of military service, but I need to clarify what those “special extra earnings” are. That’s not an additional amount which will be added to your monthly Social Security benefit as a bonus for serving. Rather it is an additional dollar amount which has already been added to your earnings record for the years you served in the military.

Those receiving active duty military pay have contributed to Social Security since 1957, and that record of your military pay is already on file with Social Security. But a long time ago Congress decided to bump up the recorded earnings of those with earlier military service to make it easier for them to qualify for Social Security, and to possibly provide a slightly higher benefit when the earnings from those years in the military are included in the computation of SS benefits.

To compute your benefit, Social Security uses the 35 highest earning years from your lifetime earnings record (adjusted for inflation). So, if your earnings during the years you were in the military are among the 35 years used to calculate your SS benefit, those military earnings were supplemented with an additional amount to make them up to $1200 per year higher than you were actually paid. And that higher earnings amount possibly means a higher Social Security benefit because it could make your lifetime Average Indexed Monthly Earnings (AIME) higher (a higher AIME translates to a higher benefit amount).

In your case, an extra $100 for every $300 in your actual military pay should have been added to your earnings record for each year you served between 1982 and 2001 (maximum of $1200 for each year).

For service years after 2001, no additional “special credits” are awarded. To verify this, you may wish to obtain a copy of your lifetime Earnings Statement from Social Security and verify that your recorded earnings for 1982 – 2001 are $1200 more than you were actually paid while serving. And if not, you should supply a copy of your DD-214 when applying for your Social Security benefits. You can obtain a copy of your lifetime Earnings Statement online if you have a personal “my Social Security” account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount; otherwise you’ll need to request a copy directly from Social Security.

For general information applicable to those who served prior to 1978, computation of their “special extra earnings” were computed a little differently. For those veterans, the maximum annual “special extra earnings” supplement was still $1,200, but the method for computing their extra earnings was to give an extra $300 for each calendar quarter of active duty military service. But in any case, the special extra earnings are an addition to your military pay record on file with Social Security, not an additional dollar amount added to your Social Security benefit.

 

This article is intended for information purposes only and does not represent legal or financial guidance. It presents the opinions and interpretations of the AMAC Foundation’s staff, trained and accredited by the National Social Security Association (NSSA). NSSA and the AMAC Foundation and its staff are not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any other governmental entity. To submit a question, visit our website (amacfoundation.org/programs/social-security-advisory) or email us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, see the July 2 issue or subscribe online.

By Russell Gloor, AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor

 

0 Comments

Related News

Residents wait for board decision

Residents wait for board decision

Hurry up and wait. The old military adage is often used to describe a situation where an individual must complete a task by a specific time, only for nothing to happen at that time. This is the situation in which many Murphy residents who spoke against a proposed...

read more
Collin County holds hazard plan public hearing

Collin County holds hazard plan public hearing

If the winter storm last year proved anything, it pays to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster. Collin County Assistant Emergency Management Specialist Randall Gurney presented information about the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan during a Wednesday, Jan. 12...

read more
Voter registration deadline coming soon

Voter registration deadline coming soon

Texas Secretary of State John Scott reminds all eligible Texas voters to ensure they are registered to vote before the upcoming deadline. The last day to register to vote for the upcoming March 1 primary race is Jan. 31. "Registering to vote in Texas is easy and...

read more
Board hears TAPR report

Board hears TAPR report

The effects of the pandemic continue to have an impact, especially when it comes to standardized testing. In Plano ISD’s case, data was collected and the district said it still performed above average, but it took some extra explanation as to the metrics of the...

read more
Police searching for suspect

Police searching for suspect

Murphy Police have been busy trying to track down the suspect that attacked a 16-year-old male around 8:30 p.m. in the 200 block of Rolling Ridge Monday, Jan. 17. Police Chief Chris Chandler reported that the teen had been exercising in the area by Liberty Ridge Park...

read more
Profane merchandise prohibited at city events

Profane merchandise prohibited at city events

Murphy City Council considered an ordinance prohibiting certain merchandise from being sold in the Jan. 18 regular meeting. Many Murphy residents were upset that merchandise containing profane language was on display at a vendor booth during last year’s Maize Days...

read more
WISD dedicates Williams Center

WISD dedicates Williams Center

There was action on and off the court Tuesday, Jan. 4 as the Williams Center was officially dedicated by Wylie ISD. The center was built with funds secured in the passage of the $193.7 million WISD bond in May 2019. Of the total bond amount, $87 million was used for...

read more
COVID-19 continues to surge

COVID-19 continues to surge

Health officials reported the highest single day COVID-19 case count last week with more than 1 million infections. A total of 1,082,549 new COVID-19 cases were reported Monday, Jan. 3, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The large number of new...

read more
New electoral maps take effect Jan. 18

New electoral maps take effect Jan. 18

Following the 2020 Census, the Texas Legislature completed the important task of redrawing the electoral maps to be used over the next decade. Three new laws are set to take effect Jan. 18 following their approval during the 87th Legislature. House Bill 1, which sets...

read more
Plano East wins road game over Coppell

Plano East wins road game over Coppell

Hoping to bounce back after a loss, the Plano East Panthers responded in a big way with a district victory. Traveling to Coppell (3-1, 16-9), Plano East (3-1, 21-2) jumped out to an early first quarter lead and won 54-45. Muizz Qazi scored 12 points and Brandon...

read more