Retirement & Financial Planning Report

Lompoc, CA - May 2019: Members of the Vandenberg Air Force Base Honor Guard post the colors during a Memorial Day ceremony (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Hanah Abercrombie)

One often overlooked benefit that federal retirees might be eligible to receive involves Social Security credit for time spent in military service. If you have such service, check your Social Security earnings records well in advance of retirement to be sure that it is included; you can do that at a Social Security office or through an online account at www.ssa.gov.

That time may qualify you for Social Security benefits if you are a CSRS employee with relatively little time under the Social Security system. If you are a FERS or CSRS-Offset employee, the military-related Social Security time could increase the Social Security benefit you already stand to receive.

ADVERTISEMENT


The earnings of people who serve in the military services on active duty or on active duty for training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves (such as weekend drills) has been covered by Social Security since 1988.

People who served in the military before 1957 did not pay into Social Security directly, but their records are credited with special earnings for Social Security purposes that count toward any benefits that might be payable. Additional earnings credits are given to military personnel depending on when they served.

Social Security taxes for military service since 1957 have been paid in the same way as for civilian employees. Those taxes were deducted from your military pay and an equal amount paid by the government as your employer. You earned Social Security credits in the same way as well

Note: If you’re already receiving Social Security benefits, it’s still worth checking because of the potential boost to your benefit.

Read more on Military Service Credit for Federal Retirement at ask.FEDweek.com

FERS Retirement Planning Guide 2020