Your military pension won't affect your Social Security benefits. You'll receive your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings.

A few important things to know:

  • If you're receiving survivors benefits, it might impact the benefits you get from the optional Department of Defense Survivors Benefit Plan. To get more details, talk to your military retirement advisor.
  • If you have health care coverage from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), TRICARE, or the CHAMPVA program, things might change or end when you become eligible for Medicare. Reach out to the VA, the Department of Defense, or a military health benefits advisor for more information.
  • If you served in the military between 1940 and 1956, even though you didn't pay Social Security taxes during that time, your records can still get credits that help you qualify for Social Security and Medicare. These credits are added to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
  • For military service after 1956, you may get extra wage credits added to your Social Security record if you had active duty or training. If your active duty was between 1957 and 1967, the extra earnings are added when you apply for Social Security benefits. If your active duty was after 1967, those extra earnings are already on your record. But remember, there are no extra earnings credits for military service after 2001.

"Active duty military service" means you served in the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Coast & Geodetic Survey (CGS), Marines, National Guard, Navy, or as a Commissioned Officer in the Public Health Service (PHS).

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Last Reviewed: May 19, 2023