Time in uniform can boost your wage record — and perhaps your Social Security benefit
If veterans have qualifying military service, they get credit for additional wages, ultimately raising their monthly Social Security payment. — Adam Voorhes
Q: I hear that Social Security gives special credits to veterans for their military service. How does that work?
A: When veterans apply for retirement or disability benefits, Social Security checks their records. If they have qualifying military service. they get credit for additional wages for their military service. These credits are added to the veteran's lifetime earnings record — not to the veteran's monthly benefit check. But because Social Security uses lifetime earnings as the basis for figuring out a person's retirement benefits, the credits can ultimately raise the monthly payment.
Some history: During World War
II, members of the armed forces weren't covered by Social Security, meaning they didn't pay into the system and couldn't get benefits based on their service.
After the war, with veterans returning to the civilian work force, Congress granted them extra credits on their records for the time of service. This was intended to help compensate for the low wages they'd been paid while in uniform and to offset the loss of civilian earnings that would've helped them qualify for or improve their Social Security retirement benefits .
In 1957, members of the military on active duty were covered by Social Security and paid Social Security taxes. In 1988, Social Security coverage was extended to people on inactive duty in the reserves. But both changes retained the practice of giving veterans a little bit extra in wage credits.