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Social Security Q&A: Do Military Retirement Benefits Affect Social Security Benefits?

Question: Will my military retirement affect my Social Security benefits?

Answer: No. You can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no offset of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement. You will get full benefits based on your earnings. The only way your Social Security benefit may be reduced is if you also receive a government pension based on a job in which you did not pay Social Security taxes. You can find more information in the publication Military Service and Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Or call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Q: I’m retired and the only income I have is a monthly withdrawal from an Individual Retirement Account, or IRA. Are the IRA withdrawals considered “earnings?” Could they reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?

A: No. Social Security counts only the wages you earn from a job or your net profit if you’re self-employed. Non-work income such as pensions, annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains and other government benefits are not counted and will not affect your Social Security benefits. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov or call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

Q: I recently applied for a replacement Social Security card, but I might be moving before it arrives in the mail. What should I do if I move before I get it?

A: Once the Social Security Administration has verified all your documents and processed your application, it takes approximately 10 to 14 days to receive your replacement Social Security card. If you move after applying for your new card, notify the post office of your change of address and the post office will forward your card to your new address. If you do not receive your card, please contact your local Social Security office. To get a replacement, you will have to resubmit your evidence of identity and United States citizenship, or your lawful immigration status and authority to work. You can learn more at www.socialsecurity.gov.

Q: What’s the average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker? How is the retirement benefit amount calculated?

A: The current average monthly Social Security benefit for a retired worker is $1,294. Social Security benefits are based on earnings averaged over most of a worker’s lifetime. Your actual earnings are first adjusted or “indexed” to account for changes in average wages since the year the earnings were received. The Social Security Administration calculates your average monthly indexed earnings during the 35 years in which you earned the most and apply a formula to these earnings to arrive at your basic benefit amount. Learn more by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov.

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213. For more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.