Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

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RVdreamin
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Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by RVdreamin »

I just read an article (link below) entitled, "Some Military Service Can Receive Extra Earnings Credits, Increasing Social Security Retirement Benefits" by Edward A. Zurndorfer who often writes about federal employee benefits.

https://www.myfederalretirement.com/mil ... -security/

I was very surprised by his assertion that the statement just below is incorrect:

· If a Uniformed Service member served on active duty at any time between 1968 through 2001, the member need not do anything. The earnings credits were “automatically added” to the member’s Social Security earnings record.

This statement, according to the author, came from the "Social Security publication Military Service and Social Security". Instead, a military service member's credits are not added automatically and to receive these additional earnings credits for active duty service between these time periods the veteran must apply in person for their social security benefits using their DD 214 as documented proof.

Is this, in fact, true and is the only way to address this problem by applying in person?

I appreciate any thoughts or ideas on this issue.
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J G Bankerton
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by J G Bankerton »

I served from 1968 to 1970, it was a command performance from LBJ, nothing was added to my SS. I also haven't read or heard anything from veteran groups. I will have to look into this.
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ObliviousInvestor
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Here's the POMS reference relating to military service:
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/ ... gory=03017

The sections regarding "evidence" (e.g. RS 01701.005) are likely to be of particular interest.

To be clear, I have no direct personal experience with this topic. Just trying to provide some help with research.
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J G Bankerton
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by J G Bankerton »

This is interesting, I can get $1,200 a year created to my SS; that is $8,383.46 in 2020 dollars. That is more than 1/2 of what I made in a year. I have been retired for years and I can only get six months of back SS. Thank you for your service. :P
barberakb
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by barberakb »

Interesting. I have never heard of this and I was active duty from 1998-2019

Hopefully it is automatic...
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by Christine_NM »

I recall that the initial application for SS benefits I filled out in 2005 includes a lot of questions about any military service the applicant may have. Maybe that is where you get any extra earnings credit, from info you provide on the application. It's fuzzy, because I skipped over those questions, and I couldn't tell if it would be a gift of more benefits or a ding on my PIA. Try looking at today's application.
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MarkS
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by MarkS »

The additional amount is called Deemed Military Wages (DMW). My service was '67-'71. I did my own calculation of my benefit as a check and can confirm that my DMW was automatically included.

I thought that it ended about the time the all volunteer service began (early '80's?) given the higher pay schedules.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by ObliviousInvestor »

Regarding the assertion in the original post, here's what the POMS says:
https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0301701002
B. Crediting DMWs for 1968 through 1977

For 1968 through 1977, we automatically added DMWs to the Master Earnings File (MEF) based on reports of military wages. When military wages are missing or incorrect, request feedback per MSOM EM 016.003. For instructions on establishing military wages based on proof of military service, see RS 01404.225. For more information on the feedback process, see MSOM EM 016.001.

NOTE: We granted an additional quarter of military service for the 12/70 quarter regardless of the actual posting to the MEF for any number holder who had military service in the 06/70 quarter. For more information on the granting of this additional quarter of military service, see MSOM MCSEC 001.036I.

C. Crediting DMWs for 1978 through 2001

For 1978 through 2001, we automatically added DMWs to the MEF based on reports of military wages. When the claimant meets all requirements for DMWs and they are missing or incorrect on the MEF, credit the MEF with $100 for each $300 of basic pay the claimant received annually, up to a maximum annual amount of $1,200.

Use the sum of all earnings and DMWs to compute QCs; do not treat the amounts separately. Allocate quarters of coverage (QCs) gained by crediting DMWs to any quarter of the year; without regard to actual dates of service and to the advantage of the claimant. See RS 00301.230 through RS 00301.250 for a discussion of computing QCs for years after 1977.
That sure looks to me like 1968-2001 is supposed to be added automatically.
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RVdreamin
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by RVdreamin »

Thank you very much for the comments and support. Great idea to check a current social security application and also check if it was already part of my PIA calculation for that time period.

Again, thanks everyone for the comments and suggestions.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by hudson »

J G Bankerton wrote: Wed Jul 08, 2020 9:18 pm I served from 1968 to 1970, it was a command performance from LBJ, nothing was added to my SS. I also haven't read or heard anything from veteran groups. I will have to look into this.
me too...I like your choice of words! Translated it means that you were drafted. When they got ready to draft me, I enlisted so that I could choose my path.
I always heard that military service would give you the maximum income from that time period that you served. It would be granted when you started drawing social security. I looked into it years ago; it is added automatically as others have said.

Others posted excellent links; Here's one that says the same stuff: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10017.pdf
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by Murdock7591 »

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10017.pdf

I believe it states in bold letters that the extra earning credits are added WHEN you apply for SS benefits.
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J G Bankerton
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by J G Bankerton »

hudson wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:51 am I always heard that military service would give you the maximum income from that time period that you served. Others posted excellent links; Here's one that says the same stuff: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10017.pdf
I'm going to check, I do know it doesn't show up on my statement of income. This is the first time I ever heard of this. I do know I made about 1/3 in the Army of what I was making as a civilian. The work was much more risky and there was not an OSHA inspector in sight. :|
djsander2022
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by djsander2022 »

My luck will be those years will be bumped out by higher earning. Although it will mean I did well overall so I’m not really complaining. I am grateful that my fellow veterans that may not have done as well will benefit from this. Thanks for your service. :sharebeer
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by hudson »

J G Bankerton wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 2:53 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:51 am I always heard that military service would give you the maximum income from that time period that you served. Others posted excellent links; Here's one that says the same stuff: https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10017.pdf
I'm going to check, I do know it doesn't show up on my statement of income. This is the first time I ever heard of this. I do know I made about 1/3 in the Army of what I was making as a civilian. The work was much more risky and there was not an OSHA inspector in sight. :|
Well there were free fireworks, clothing, food, lodging, and air cooled barracks....salary $99 per month starting.

I looked at my "current earnings record"...the one that's on my social security page... and compared it to an earning record 4 months before I started drawing. Both records showed the same amount. I logged on to my social security page. I couldn't find anything showing that they added it; I think that they did.

I think this is what we're supposed to get....from my link above.

"From 1957 through 1977, you’re credited with $300
in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in
which you received active duty basic pay"

Bottom line: I did not find anything that SHOWS that I got the $300 per quarter.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by LadyGeek »

This thread is now in the Personal Finance (Not Investing) forum (Social Security).
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J G Bankerton
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by J G Bankerton »

hudson wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:00 pm Well there were free fireworks, clothing, food, lodging, and air cooled barracks....salary $99 per month starting.
I take umbrage with some of the free items given to me by US manufactures; cigarettes' :x .

I did not smoke a single cigarette until I was 20 years old. I was addicted for 10 years and that shortened my life according to the actuarial tables. Thank you for your service.
djsander2022 wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:02 pm My luck will be those years will be bumped out by higher earning.
So SS doesn't count all earnings? How many years do they count? My service time was when I was 19 to 20 years old, those were the third and fourth lowest earning years. The two lower were when I was working part time wile attending High School.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by djsander2022 »

J G Bankerton wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:42 pm
hudson wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:00 pm Well there were free fireworks, clothing, food, lodging, and air cooled barracks....salary $99 per month starting.
I take umbrage with some of the free items given to me by US manufactures; cigarettes' :x .

I did not smoke a single cigarette until I was 20 years old. I was addicted for 10 years and that shortened my life according to the actuarial tables. Thank you for your service.
djsander2022 wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 3:02 pm My luck will be those years will be bumped out by higher earning.
So SS doesn't count all earnings? How many years do they count? My service time was when I was 19 to 20 years old, those were the third and fourth lowest earning years. The two lower were when I was working part time wile attending High School.
They count the 35 highest years. If you have more than 35 years of earnings the lowest years above the 35 years get dropped out of the calculation.
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RVdreamin
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by RVdreamin »

Again, thank you everyone for your comments. Per advice on this thread, I spot checked several old Dec Leave and Earnings Statements (LESs). In each situation, the Federal tax wages YTD matched the SS wages YTD (and both matched closely to my base pay). Finally, both numbers matched exactly with the corresponding years on my SS statement. Based on this spot check, it appears the SS site is correct--the updates do happen automatically. (and, there should not be a need to file for SS benefits in person when the time comes).

Again, thank you for the responses and great suggestions on this thread.
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J G Bankerton
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by J G Bankerton »

djsander2022 wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 4:57 pm They count the 35 highest years. If you have more than 35 years of earnings the lowest years above the 35 years get dropped out of the calculation.
That is cutting it close. I have about 37 years of earnings counting part time part years. I have to go to the SS office to get back into my online account. What I remember of my life SS says doesn't match. Wile I'm there I will have to see if I got the credit.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by bgrpph »

I've no idea if this is applicable to this discussion--- but i recall when i was fed employee (now retired after 30 yrs) that if i wanted to count my 2yrs/9months military service time (1966-69) for my federal retirement yrs of service- i had to make a one time payment for a retirement amount(7% ?) based on the amount i earned while in the service- i don't recall the specifics but the amt i had to pay wasn't much to get the 2yrs 9months credited to my federal service time cause my pay was so little in the Army ($95 Month starting- $313Month when i got out).

My military service time/$ was counted in my soc sec calculation. Also since i'd had paid back the $$ for mil svc that was also counted in my yrs of fed svc.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by corn18 »

RVdreamin wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:24 pm Again, thank you everyone for your comments. Per advice on this thread, I spot checked several old Dec Leave and Earnings Statements (LESs). In each situation, the Federal tax wages YTD matched the SS wages YTD (and both matched closely to my base pay). Finally, both numbers matched exactly with the corresponding years on my SS statement. Based on this spot check, it appears the SS site is correct--the updates do happen automatically. (and, there should not be a need to file for SS benefits in person when the time comes).

Again, thank you for the responses and great suggestions on this thread.
I don't understand. If your taxable wages matched your SS wages which matched your SS statement, how can they have credited the DMW's? If it were automatic, I would have expected your SS earnings on the SSA site to be higher than the SS wages on your LES. What am I missing?

I just ran my data through AnyPIA with and without my military service. If I select no military service, my PIA is $2,768.90. If I put in my military service dates from 1988-2001, my PIA is $2,781.60. My earnings record did not reflect any DMW's, so I assume the SSA will account for the military service upon application.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by meebers »

I retired from the military after 20 years, 1959-1979. If I remember correctly, SS was taken out of my pay during this time. Not sure where to begin and would it be worthwhile? :greedy
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by Murdock7591 »

corn18 wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 7:00 pm
RVdreamin wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 5:24 pm Again, thank you everyone for your comments. Per advice on this thread, I spot checked several old Dec Leave and Earnings Statements (LESs). In each situation, the Federal tax wages YTD matched the SS wages YTD (and both matched closely to my base pay). Finally, both numbers matched exactly with the corresponding years on my SS statement. Based on this spot check, it appears the SS site is correct--the updates do happen automatically. (and, there should not be a need to file for SS benefits in person when the time comes).

Again, thank you for the responses and great suggestions on this thread.
I don't understand. If your taxable wages matched your SS wages which matched your SS statement, how can they have credited the DMW's? If it were automatic, I would have expected your SS earnings on the SSA site to be higher than the SS wages on your LES. What am I missing?

I just ran my data through AnyPIA with and without my military service. If I select no military service, my PIA is $2,768.90. If I put in my military service dates from 1988-2001, my PIA is $2,781.60. My earnings record did not reflect any DMW's, so I assume the SSA will account for the military service upon application.
I agree with Corn18. You must start the application process to get the credit.
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J G Bankerton
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by J G Bankerton »

bgrpph wrote: Thu Jul 09, 2020 6:27 pm i don't recall the specifics but the amt i had to pay wasn't much to get the 2yrs 9months credited to my federal service time cause my pay was so little in the Army ($95 Month starting- $313Month when i got out).
E-5 in less than three years? Sounds like Vietnam service.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by GuyInFL »

I thought I'd throw some numbers at this as a career military guy.
I spot checked my taxable income against my social security statement and confirmed the numbers matched (mid 1980's through mid 2000's)
Based on that I'd expect the additional "deemed" credit.

$1200/year * 20 years * indexing = $64,401.40
Results in an AIME increase of $64,401.40 / (35*12) = $153.34
If I'm past the third bend point $153.34 * 15% = $23 / month
If I'm past the second bend point $153.34 * 32% = $49 / month
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RVdreamin
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by RVdreamin »

Again, thanks everyone. So, it seems the consensus is the deemed credit will be added upon application but my question is does it require an in person application as the original article suggested?
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by OAG »

1956-2005 Earning listed in my SS records - 49 years total. Of those 1958 -1979 were military. And most of those $300 per quarter add in years were eliminated by the top 35 years calculations (I assume).
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by hudson »

OAG wrote: Sun Jul 12, 2020 7:56 am 1956-2005 Earning listed in my SS records - 49 years total. Of those 1958 -1979 were military. And most of those $300 per quarter add in years were eliminated by the top 35 years calculations (I assume).
From memory I went from 1965 to 2013....around 48-49 years. My 2 1/2 years of army..."LBJ Command Performance"... earnings were also wiped by the best 35 years. There was a note somewhere that 1966 was the first year for Medicare.
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Re: Social Security extra earnings credit for military service

Post by GuyInFL »

RVdreamin wrote: Sat Jul 11, 2020 5:29 pm Again, thanks everyone. So, it seems the consensus is the deemed credit will be added upon application but my question is does it require an in person application as the original article suggested?
As stated earlier, the SSA web site says you don't need to apply in person. The online checklist asks about military service, so it looks like they'll have the same data as if you applied in-person.
https://www.ssa.gov/hlp/isba/10/isba-checklist.pdf

I'd suggest using the Boglehead Finance Toolbox to calculate an estimate based on your Social Security earnings (which clearly don't include the deemed earnings) and if the amount you received didn't exceed that, check with the Social Security office. As long as you do that within six months, looks like you won't lose anything.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Tools_a ... ce_toolbox
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