Does military retirement affect your Social Security benefits?

Q: I under­stand (just recently) that when I get to the age of 65, that I will NOT be able to col­lect social secu­rity ben­e­fits AND my mil­i­tary ben­e­fits. How so? Thanks!

–Ruben, Williams­burg, Va.

A: I’ve got good news…it just isn’t “so.” I’ve received a num­ber of ques­tions like yours, Ruben, and I’m curi­ous where folks are get­ting this mis­in­for­ma­tion? Let me clear this up: Social Secu­rity will not impact your mil­i­tary retire­ment. Yes, it may impact how much you pay in taxes. This is because mil­i­tary retire­ment com­bined with your income from other sources, will likely exceed the thresh­olds at which a por­tion of your Social Secu­rity is included in your tax­able income ($25,000 if you’re single/$32,000 if you file jointly). While that may be bad news, it’s cer­tainly bet­ter than no Social Secu­rity at all. I feel com­pelled to point out one really impor­tant thing to you. The Social Secu­rity Admin­is­tra­tion does not con­sider 65 your full retire­ment age. Take a look at the Social Secu­rity Retire­ment Plan­ner, it’s at least 66. So you can go ahead and take the ben­e­fit at any time start­ing at age 62, but know that it will be a reduced amount. Aside from that, relax and enjoy your retire­ment. Thanks for your service!

Share |

12 responses to “Does military retirement affect your Social Security benefits?”

  1. June:
    Thx for a really excel­lent answer and the addi­tional panache of giv­ing infor­ma­tion that, though not specif­i­cally asked for, was indeed, crit­i­cal of the process. Thx also for con­tin­u­ing the tra­di­tion of excel­lence we come to appre­ci­ate from USAA. Also refresh­ing deliv­ery, unen­cum­bered by the “vari­a­tions on the theme” Suze Orman is famous for. Best!
    G. Phil Zepeda, MA, MS, EA, ATA, ATP, CLU,ChFC,CFP

  2. I was told the mil­i­tary has a new pro­gram of some sort for mem­ber who didn’t retire but was going to. Is there is truth to this matter.

  3. I under­stand that, at age 65, I can apply for any retire­ment that I earned in my Naval Reserve enlist­ment 1954 to 1974. I also want to know who to con­tact? One source said the VA, another said the US Navy. It also seems that any income from this retire­ment may be charged against the $14,000 per year limit set by the SSA.

  4. Sorry for the typo: My reserve duty was from 1964 to 1974.

  5. I am on social secu­rity 100% for unem­ploy­a­bil­ity as well as a 40% dis­abled vet­eran (injuries on active duty (3.5–4 year active duty-army). My va dis­abil­ity should raise to close to 100% after it eas­ily shown why it will be raised. I am cur­rently liv­ing in caddo, ok, but wish to per­mantly retire in Alaska. I am a 48 yo female. Is it true Alask has a state stipened start­ing after proof of 1 ful­lyear of res­i­dence? Am i enti­tled to any fur­ther pay or ben­e­fits? Who can send me a packet on this or who shoul i con­tact? The AK va line is always busy so i can’t get through? Any answers would be greatly appre­ci­ated. Nancy P. Caddo, OK

  6. I remem­ber being told at Ft Hood as I retired that my retire­ment pay would be reduced when I got SS. That was in 96.

  7. That’s not the case…and mil­i­tary retire­ment will not affect SS either:

  8. From read­ing all this great infor­ma­tion I under­stand my Mil­i­tary Retire­ment will not be reduced if I take Social Secu­rity at 62 yrs this Jan 30th, 2014. I still need to deter­mine if my VA Dis­abil­ity (rated 50%) pay­ment will be reduced because of SS pay. Of course, I am going to con­tinue fur­ther inquiry until I am 100% sure of the answer.

  9. I am 58 years old and cur­rently col­lect VA dis­abil­ity com­pen­sa­tion. I would like to retire at age 62 and can­not find any­thing that tells me whether or not I can col­lect both Social Secu­rity ben­e­fits and my VA dis­abil­ity. Can you help me?

  10. My son was “tem­porar­ily retired” two years ago from the Coast Guard when they diag­nosed him with myotonic mus­cu­lar dys­tro­phy, after an injury he received while on board ship. The final deter­mi­na­tion has not been made regard­ing his retire­ment (he was advised by the Coast Guard to seek retire­ment as opposed to dis­abil­ity) and he is cur­rently receiv­ing “retire­ment pay”. This is not enough for him to live off of and yet he is unable to work. Is he eli­gi­ble for social secu­rity dis­abil­ity ben­e­fits with­out los­ing his mil­i­tary retire­ment pay? He stays upset because the deter­mi­na­tion with the mil­i­tary keeps being post­poned and leaves him in limbo. Thanks.

  11. I am about to get divorced from some­one I mar­ried “after” I retired from the US Navy. She asked me a ques­tion regard­ing my child sup­port pay­ments. If I pass away, will my child sup­port (com­ing out of my retired pay) get reduced? or Stopped? Not sure how that works.

    1. I’m pretty sure that if you DIE, you will not be expected to pay child support.

USAA or its affiliates do not provide tax advice. Taxpayers should seek advice based upon their own particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to substitute for obtaining professional financial advice. Please thoroughly research and seek professional representation before acting on any information you may have found in this article. This article is in no way attempts to provide advice that relates all personal circumstances.

Examples given are hypothetical illustrations and not an indication of the benefits or features of any USAA product. You should seek policies and advice based upon your own particular circumstances. Sample loans are for illustration purposes only and are not a rate quote, pre-approval, or commitment to lend.

Scott Halliwell and JJ Montanaro are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of companies. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the United States, which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

USAA Financial Planning Services® refers financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Company in California, Lic. #0E36312), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer. (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), a registered investment adviser and insurance agency and its wholly owned subsidiary, USAA Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered broker dealer.

USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. Investments provided by USAA Investment Management Company and USAA Financial Advisors Inc., both registered broker dealers. Banking products provided by USAA Federal Savings Bank. Credit cards provided by USAA Savings Bank. Both Banks Member FDIC.