Social Security and VA disability benefits (updated)


Q: I am a Vietnam veteran with a disability rated at 40 percent. I will be 64 in September and plan on drawing my Social Security retirement benefits at that time. Will either one of these government plans be affected by the other? Also, do I receive any extra credit in my Social Security earnings for the 16 quarters served on active duty from 1966 to 1969?

A: You will be able to receive both your Veterans Affairs Department disability pay and your Social Security benefit. Your Social Security benefit will be based on the number of credits you earned under Social Security and will be less than the full amount because you will not have reached your full retirement age when you begin drawing it. For periods of active-duty service from 1957 through 1967, extra credits will be added to your record for Social Security benefits. From 1968 through 2000, credits will be automatically added. After 2001, no extra credits are added. For the full story, go to “Military Service and Social Security” on the official Social Security website.


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Reg Jones was head of retirement and insurance policy at the Office of Personnel Management. Email your retirement-related questions to


  1. Victoria Ivey on

    My husband is a 100% Disabled Veteran. He receives $2348 per month through the Social Security Department. He was approved for $3140 per month through the Veteran Department. Are these two different payments or does the VA money come through the Social Security Dept.?

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