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How Can I Know If Social Security Is Right About My Free Military Wage Credits?

My question is about free wage credits for those who served in the military from 1957 to 1997.
According to Social Security they updated my annual earnings with the free wage credits.
But I belong to a military organization (AAFMAA ) that sends me an annual document that shows what my estimated annual earnings should be, and they are higher than the data shown on my Social Security statement. I sent them a copy of my annual earnings every year I was in the military.
The AAFMAA document says that normally SS won't update the record till I file for benefits and only after I give them a copy of my discharge document the DD214.
When I applied for benefits, I gave them the DD214 but they said they had already updated my record.
Free Wage Credits are gratuitous wage credits
for years 1957 through 1977, credit $300 for each calendar quarter in which he or she
received any basic pay for active duty or active duty for training. For 1978 and later, credit
increments of $100 up to a maximum of $1,200 per calendar year.

I have SS earning statements for many years and the annual numbers never changed to match what AAFMAA shows.

How can I know if SS is right?

Many thanks for you doing this. It is a great public service.


Hi John. I don't know of any way to be 100% certain that Social Security's calculations are correct, but I can tell you that deemed military wages (DMW) are automatically added to a person's Social Security earnings record for all years from 1968 through 2001 ( Those credits are automatically added based on the payroll data submitted to Social Security by the various branches of the U.S. military service. DMWs can also be credited for the years 1957 through 1967 with sufficient proof, such as a form DD-214.

DMWs are only credited for periods in which a veteran was on active duty in the U.S. military. I can't promise you that your DMWs were credited correctly, but based on my 36 years of experience working for Social Security I can tell you that DMWs are virtually always correctly credited to a person's earnings history for the years 1968-2001.

If you've been awarded Social Security benefits and if you don't think that your benefit rate is correct, you could request an appeal. However, appeal requests must normally be submitted within 60 days of the determination being appealed. If you're past that timeframe and unless you can establish good cause for filing a late appeal request, you could try requesting a manual recomputation of your benefit rate. Manual recomputation requests must be submitted to Social Security in writing, and you would want to submit any evidence that you believe shows that Social Security's calculation of your benefit rate is inaccurate.

Best, Jerry

Aug 22 2022 - 3:53pm
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