Monday, January 7, 2013

Military Service and Social Security Disability

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.
If you served in the military before 1957, you did not pay Social Security taxes, but we gave you special credit for some of your service.
You can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You’ll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings.
Social Security and Medicare taxes
While you are in military service, you pay Social Security taxes just as civilian employees do. In 2012, the tax rate is 5.65 percent, up to a maximum of $110,100. If you earn more, you continue to pay the Medicare portion of the tax (1.45 percent) on the rest of your earnings.

How your work qualifies you for Social Security
To qualify for benefits, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time. In 2012, you will receive four credits if you earn at least $4,520. The amount needed to get credit for your work goes up each year. The number of credits you need to qualify for Social Security benefits depends on your age and the type of benefit for which you are eligible. No one needs more than 10 years of work.

Extra earnings
Your Social Security benefit depends on your earnings, averaged over your working lifetime. Generally, the higher your earnings, the higher your Social Security benefit. Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your 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 you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.
If you became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001 you can receive expedited processing of your Social Security disability claim.
When you apply for Social Security benefits, you will be asked for proof of your military service (DD Form 214) or information about your reserve or National Guard service.