Better Benefits Available for U.S. Veterans

Thousands of U.S. military veterans who served on active duty between January 1957 and January 31, 2001, are eligible for higher Social Security benefits based on pay they received during that time period.

Under certain circumstances, up to $1,200 per year of earnings credit can be added to a veteran’s lifetime earnings for Social Security purposes. These extra earnings can make a substantial difference in a retiree’s monthly Social Security benefit.

In order to be credited for the extra earnings that can translate into increased benefits, veterans who are preparing for retirement should bring their DD-214 to the Social Security office to ensure they receive credit for their military pay.

The program that provides for increased Social Security benefits was terminated in 2001, and there are no special extra earnings credits for military service after that time. Visit: http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/military.htm#2002 for more information about the program and benefits.

Additionally, armed service members who have been medically separated since September 11, 2001 will have the opportunity to have their disability ratings reviewed to ensure fairness and accuracy.

Only a fraction of wounded veterans who could be getting better benefits have applied for the review in the two years since Congress ordered the Pentagon to review veteran’s disputed disability claims.

According to an Associated Press article, only 921 of 77,000 eligible veterans have applied for a review by the Physical Disability Board of Review. Of those cases, about 60 percent were decided in favor of improving the veteran’s benefits, while an additional 119 cases were dismissed as ineligible.

Visit: http://www.health.mil/About_MHS/Organizations/MHS_Offices_and_Programs/PDBR.aspx for more information about the new Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR).