Social Security Administration


Monthly retirement, disability and survivor benefits under Social Security are payable to veterans and dependents if the veteran has earned enough work credits under the program. Upon the veteran’s death, a one-time payment of $255 also may be made to the veteran’s spouse or child. In addition, a veteran may qualify at age 65 for Medicare’s hospital insurance and medical insurance. Medicare protection is available to people who have received Social Security disability benefits for 24 months, and to insured people and their dependents who need dialysis or kidney transplants, or who have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease).


Since 1957, military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training) have counted toward Social Security and those earnings are already on Social Security records. Since 1988, inactive duty service in the Reserve Component (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by Social Security. Service members and veterans are credited with $300 credit in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which they received active duty basic pay after 1956 and before 1978.


Veterans who served in the military from 1978 through 2001 are credited with an additional $100 in earnings for each $300 in active duty basic pay, up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. No additional Social Security taxes are withheld from pay for these extra credits.  If veterans enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980, and did not complete at least 24 months of active duty or their full tour of duty, they may not be able to receive the additional earnings.  Check with Social Security for details.  Additional earnings will no longer be credited for military service periods after 2001.


Also, noncontributory Social Security earnings of $160 a month may be credited to veterans who served after Sept. 15, 1940, and before 1957, including attendance at service academies. For information, call 800.772.1213.