Ask Larry

Shouldn't My Social Security Earnings Include Extra Credits For The Years I Was In The Air Force?

I served in the Air Force from 1979-1999. I have my December pay stubs for 95, 96, 97 showing what my end of year earnings were. When I look at my social security earnings for those years it only shows my earning nothing extra. Called social security and was told if I paid into social security I don’t get anything added unless I need that amount to qualify for social security. From all I have read that doesn’t sound right. I would appreciate your thoughts on the subject

Hi,

Social Security's regulations grant deemed military wage (DMW) credits for any periods that a person was on active duty in the U.S. military from 1957 through 2001. What you were told about not getting the credits unless the amount is needed to qualify for Social Security is not at all correct. If you were on active duty during those years, you should qualify for the appropriate DMWs.

DMWs amount to $300 per calendar quarter, or $100 per month, depending on the specific year(s) in which you served on active duty (https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/handbook/handbook.09/handbook-0953.html). And, starting with 1968, Social Security began automatically adding the appropriate amount of DMWs to the earnings histories of active duty military personnel. I can't explain the apparent discrepancy between your pay slips and your Social Security earnings history, but I would suggest retaining proof of your periods of active duty (e.g. form DD-214). That way, when you eventually apply for Social Security benefits you'll be able to submit proof of your periods of active duty so that you can make sure you receive the appropriate DMW credits.

Best, Jerry

Posted: 
Jul 22 2020 - 7:54am
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