Special extra earnings & Social Security


Q.  On www.ssa.gov/retire2/military.htm#2002 it states that between the years 1957 and 2001, Special Extra Earnings can be credited to your Social Security benefit for active-duty military service between the above mentioned years. I started drawing Social Security in 2010. How do I determine if these Special Extra Earnings were applied?

A.  The site you included clearly states the following (emphasis added):

  • 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 do not 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.

I think you’ll have to accept the Social Security Administration word that this has or will be done.


About Author

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


  1. Delles Schneider on


    Please share this with anyone who’s had active duty service prior to January
    2002 and planning for retirement. In a nutshell it boils down to
    this: You qualify for a higher social security payment because of your
    military service, for active duty any time from 1940 through 2001 (the
    program was done away with in January 2002). Up to $1200 per year of
    earnings credit credited at time of application – which can make a
    substantial difference in social security monthly payments upon your
    retirement. You must bring your DD-214 to the Social Security Office – and
    you must ask for this benefit to receive it! Soc Sec website:

    This is something to put in your files for when you apply for Social
    Security down the road. It is NOT just for retirees, BUT anyone who has
    served on active duty prior to January 2002. FYI – this benefit is not
    automatic, you must ask for it! SA website says it is automatic, but better to error on safe side.

  2. I still think Iam entitled to my $300.00 per month stipend, because the order from Washington D.C. doesn’t say anything about civilian work history. I think its criminal for the social security administration to steal $300.00 per month from veterans simply because of breaks in their civilian work history when it has nothing to do with the military. And Iam going to keep fighting for that stipend. Iam an Honorably discharged U.S.M.C. veteran and that is my money. It isn’t right for social security to come up with a scheme to rob veterans of $3,600 per year. I will be contacting Washington D.C. about my stipend. The politicians in Illinois are thieves.

    • Because this is a site for federal civilian employees and retirees, we aren’t qualified to comment on your situation.

  3. I’m already drawing SS. Can I apply for an increase in future monthly benefits based on my military service?
    If so, can I collect the difference retroactively?

    • Because you had Social Security deductions taken from your pay while in military service, that time has already been taken into account when determining the amount of your Social Security benefit.

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