On Memorial Day, it’s important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We at Social Security honor the heroism and courage of our military service members and mourn for those who have given their lives in defense of freedom.
It’s also important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have recently been wounded. They’ve served us; likewise we serve them.
Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Social Security also 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.
When you reach age 65, you’ll also be eligible for Medicare. If you have health care insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA program, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare. You should contact the VA, the Department of Defense or a military health benefits adviser for more information.
If you’ve served in the Armed Forces and you’re planning your retirement, you’ll want to read our publication, Military Service and Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html.
You also may want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm.
Finally, find out about expedited benefits for wounded warriors at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10131.html
Blanca Taylor is a Social Security Public Affairs Specialist