Disability, General

Veterans and Active Duty Military Members: Social Security Has Your Back!

November 10, 2021 • By

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Last Updated: November 10, 2021

Veterans Day 2021Every year on Veterans Day, we honor the people who risk their lives to protect our country. Our disability program is part of our obligation to wounded warriors and their families. Social Security is an important resource for military members who return home with injuries. If you know a wounded veteran, please let them know about our Wounded Warriors webpage.

Our Wounded Warriors webpage answers many questions commonly asked about Social Security, and shares useful information about disability benefits. On this page, you can learn how Social Security benefits are different from benefits available through the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application. We also explain how veterans can expedite the processing of their Social Security disability claims if they become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Active duty military service members who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits.

We honor veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the respect they deserve. Please let these heroes know they can count on us when they need us most. They’ve earned these benefits! Our webpages are easy to share on social media and by email with your friends and family. Please consider passing this information along to someone who may need it.

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About the Author

Dawn Bystry, Acting Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications

Deputy Associate Commissioner, Office of Strategic and Digital Communications


  1. Randall A.

    I am already collecting Social Security, am I eligible for Extra Earnings? I served during the years from 1972 to 1979?

    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 served in the military after 1956, you paid
    Social Security taxes on those earnings. Since 1988,
    inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves
    (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by
    Social Security.
    Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for
    periods of active duty from 1957 through 2001 can also
    be credited to your Social Security earnings record.
    • From 1957 through 1967, we will add the extra
    credits to your record when you apply for Social
    Security benefits.
    • From 1968 through 2001, you don’t need to do
    anything to receive these extra credits. The credits
    were automatically added to your record.
    • After 2001, there are no special extra earnings credits
    for military service.
    The information that follows explains how you can get
    credit for special extra earnings and applies only to
    active duty military service earnings from 1957 through
    From 1957 through 1977, you’re credited with $300 in
    additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which
    you received active duty basic pay.
    From 1978 through 2001, for every $300 in active
    duty basic pay, you’re credited with an additional $100
    in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. If you
    enlisted after September 7, 1980, and didn’t complete
    at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you
    may not be able to receive the additional earnings.
    Check with Social Security for details
    If you served in the military from 1940 through

    • Vonda


      Hi Randall, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. If your active duty was after 1967, the extra earnings are already on your record. There are no special extra earnings credits for military service after 2001. These special earnings credits are added to your earnings record automatically when you apply for Social Security benefits.

      Check out our Military Service and Social Security publication for more information. We hope this helps!

  2. Wounded W.

    How long should it take to process an “expedited” SSDI claim for a Veteran who is a Wounded Warrior?

    I applied in August and so far no one can tell me if my claim has been flagged for “fast tracking” when I clearly put on my initial claim that I am a WW and I have called several times and told people that I was a WW but somehow my file is still being processed without any priority at all.

    • Vonda

      Hi there. Check out our Disability Benefits for Wounded Warriors web page for details on the process. Please contact your local Social Security office with additional questions. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. We hope this information helps.

  3. Selina J.

    Here’s a fun fact.
    Social Security Has Your Back. This is a blog post by Donald F. Norris, Professor of Public Policy, School of Public Affairs and Department of Political Science, University of Maryland-College Park.

  4. Marianne L.

    My husband served from 1972 to 1993. He passed 2018 servcie connected. I do get widow benefit based on his income. He was collecting SS Disabilty at the time of his passing. How would I if I can get the Public Law 107-117, the Defense Appropriations Act, benefit?

    • Vonda

      Hi Marianne, thanks for reaching out. We are very sorry for your loss. You may want to check with the Department of Defense or military advisor for more information on the Defense Appropriations Act. 

  5. Patriot12 U.

    It bothers me when they ask, what percent of disability is your rating! Either you are a DAV or not.

  6. Lol k.

    Nice articles.

  7. Anthony J.

    Veteran and social security beneficiaries in the District of Columbia failed to received their direct deposits this November. The Treasury and SSA must redress this. The District of Columbia, and not the entire United States of America, is a failed state. The Senate has a duty to pass the DC Admission Act HR. 51. By the way social security matters blog is to be fined $1 million for embezzlement relating to refusing to stop cruelly altering people’s names in the unusual pattern of first name last initial. Stealing my life savings and everyone in DCs direct deposits completely justifies this one of many million dollar penalties for embezzlement against the most recent twist in the SSA Mail App adaption – Social Security Matters blog. http://www.title24uscode.org/netspend.pdf

  8. fanny

    I totally agree that we should pay tribute to veterans who have fought. Pragmatic team and I really like the program launched here.

  9. Preston L.

    No matter how much I try to remember, how far I research my files, go back into my history, I can not access your website as a user or sign on for as many reasons as you can muster to block me from doing so I have resigned myself to remaining out of your way.. now I have issues you wish me up respond to and I can not for the above readons

    Please respond to this with any assistance you can offer


    • Willie N.

      Preston, I understand where you are coming from…I too have resigned myself.

    • Ann C.



      Hi, Preston. We are sorry to hear you are having difficulty accessing your personal my Social Security account. For your security, we do not have access to private information in this venue. If you are still unable to create an account or encounter a problem with your personal my Social Security account, please call us at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778), Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. At the voice prompt, say “help desk.” We hope this helps.



  10. PJ J.

    Recommendation for SSDI and VA disability to create a closer cooperation.
    — e.g. SSDI should more readily accept the VA disability ratings.
    100% VA disability should closely equate to SSDI.

    • Paula M.

      Hello, I am part of Camp lejeune family, 57age with Parkinson and Dystonia, and anastomosis,over ten years. I applied several times SSI AND DENIED. I was approved by a Alabama judge fully favorable as disabled. But still denied any financial benefits or help from Alabama SSI or any kind of disability help. They just say I don’t have enough workers points. I explained to them I was in hospital off and on for anastomosis removal of my large intestines, toxins in my system, I had to have a full hysterectomy at age 28, etc and they did not care. My question is has any thing changed. My dad was a Marine in Camp Leguene 1963&64 he had non Hodgkin lymphoma and died this March on my birthday, also my brother died age 54 in 2020, he was a soldier born in 1963. Died of neurologist problems also. I am all that is left. I promise my dad on his death bed I would follow through to see if I can get help. Any financial assistance.

      • Ann C.

        Hi, Paula. We are sorry to hear about your condition. Unfortunately, your question is a bit more complex than we can answer in this forum. Be sure to contact your local Social Security office for assistance. Thanks! 

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