When you apply for benefits, the Social Security Administration will automatically verify your military service. If your military service increases your benefit and they cannot get proof of your service, they will ask for your DD-214 or other proof of service before the application can be processed.

Most veterans may qualify for the Special Extra Earnings for Military Service. From 1957 through 2001, if you had military service earnings for active duty (including active duty for training), you may have extra Social Security wage credits added to your earnings record. These extra earnings credits may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefits.

Here’s how the special extra earnings are credited on your record:

  • From 1957 through 1977, you are credited with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay;
  • From 1978 through 2001, for every $300 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year.

In January 2002, Public Law 107-117, the Defense Appropriations Act, stopped the special extra earnings that have been credited to military service personnel.

If you enlisted after September 7, 1980 and didn’t complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings.

NOTE: In all cases, the Social Security Administration will automatically add the additional credit for military service to the earnings that they average over your working lifetime, but not directly to your monthly benefit payment amount.