Military service, Social Security
Excerpts from Social Security Administration Publication No. 05-10017, dated January 2014
Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Social Security has covered inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves (such as weekend drills) since 1988. Those who served in the military before 1957 did not pay Social Security taxes, but they received special credit for some of their service.
Military members can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of military retirement benefits. Service members will get full Social Security benefits based on their earnings.
Social Security, Medicare taxes
Service members pay Social Security taxes just as Civilian employees do. They currently pay a 6.2 percent Social Security tax on up to $117,000 of their earnings. The Medicare tax rate is 1.45 percent on all wages, and high-income earners also pay an additional 0.9 percent on earnings above certain amounts.
How work qualifies employees for Social Security
To qualify for benefits, one must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time. The amount needed to get credit for work goes up each year. The number of credits one needs to qualify for Social Security benefits depends on age and the type of benefit for which they are eligible. No one needs more than 10 years of work.
Social Security benefit depends on earnings, averaged over an employee’s working lifetime. Generally, the higher the earnings, the higher the Social Security benefit.
Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to one’s military pay record for Social Security purposes. The extra earnings are for periods of active duty or active duty for training. These extra earnings may help an individual qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of the Social Security benefit.
Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for periods of active duty from 1957 through 2001 can also be credited to Social Security earnings record for benefit purposes. Check with the Social Security Office for details.
Those who served in the military from 1940 through 1956, including attendance at a service academy, did not pay Social Security taxes. However, a servicemember’s Social Security record may be credited with earnings for military service from Sept. 16, 1940, through Dec. 31, 1956, under some circumstances. Check with the Social Security Office for details.
Contacting Social Security
For more information and publications, visit the Social Security Administration website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free, 1.800.772.1213 (for the deaf or hard of hearing, call the TTY number, 1.800.325.0778). They treat all calls confidentially, and can answer specific questions from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Monday – Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time by calling during the week after Tuesday. Information is also provided by automated phone service 24 hours a day.
FH Retiree Council meets quarterly
The Fort Huachuca Retiree Council meets quarterly in January, April, July, and October. The next meeting will be held on Oct. 10, 10 a.m., in the Director of Human Resources Conference Room, Building 41421. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Fort Huachuca Retiree Council Facebook page for regular updates, events, and miscellaneous information of interest at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fort-Huachuca-Retiree-Council/357858980975547.
For additional retirement services information, visit the Retirement Services Office website at https://www.ikn.army.mil/apps/IKNWMS/Default.aspx?webId=2230.