Social Security Works for Veterans

- Veterans and their families make up almost 40 percent of the adult Social Security beneficiary population, which means two out of every five either are veterans or reside with family members who are veterans

* Nearly one out of every four adult Social Security beneficiaries has served in the military

* Of the 23.1 million veterans, 9.4 million veterans collect Social Security benefits

* The largest number of veterans receiving Social Security benefits served during World War II: there are 3.6 million such veterans

- While the overall Social Security beneficiary population doubled from 1968 through 2004, the number of veterans receiving Social Security more than quadrupled, increasing from just over 2 million to 9.4 million veterans, during the same period

* The percentage of Social Security beneficiaries who have served in the military has approximately doubled since the late 1960s

* Six percent of veterans receiving Social Security are black and 2 percent are Hispanic, whereas of all adult Social Security beneficiaries, 10 percent are black and 6 percent are Hispanic

* Ninety-seven percent of veterans receiving Social Security are male compared with only 43 percent of all Social Security beneficiaries

* Among the veteran population receiving Social Security benefits, 73 percent are married and about 83 percent have finished high school, significantly more than for the overall Social Security beneficiary population where 54 percent of beneficiaries are married and 73 percent of beneficiaries have finished high school

* Only 7 percent of veterans who receive Social Security do not receive Medicare, while almost 14 percent of all adult Social Security beneficiaries do not receive Medicare

- Military personnel have been covered under Social Security since 1957, and those who served in 2001 or earlier receive special credits that augment their earnings for the purpose of computing Social Security benefits; Congress has also provided special credits for veterans who served before the military was brought under the Social Security system

* For each month of active-duty service from September 1940 through 1956, a person is credited with $160 of earnings for the purpose of computing Social Security benefits

* For those who served between 1957 and 1977, credits equal $300 for each quarter of active-duty pay

* Those serving between 1978 and 2001 receive credits equal to an additional $100 in earnings for each $300 they receive in active-duty pay (total credits may not exceed $1,200 a year)

- Among veterans receiving Social Security, benefit amounts tend to be lower for the younger age groups, which are mainly composed of disabled persons

* Veterans under the age of 50, with $717 for the mean benefit, have the lowest average Social Security benefit amount

* The $991 average benefit for veterans aged 50-61 is also less than the average amount for the older age groups

* In addition to Social Security disability benefits, veterans who are at least 10 percent disabled as a result of military service can receive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs

- A low incidence of poverty and near poverty among veterans also holds for those veterans aged 62 or older

* Among veterans aged 62-74, only 3.5 percent are poor and only 11.5 percent have income below 150 percent of poverty

* For older veterans aged 75-84, 3.6 percent are poor and 15.0 percent have income below 150 percent of poverty

* In the oldest age group, veterans aged 85 or older, only 2.9 percent are poor and 12.8 percent have income below 150 percent of poverty

* Disability pensions are also available to wartime veterans with limited income

- The economic status of those receiving Social Security benefits is determined in large part by their monthly benefit payment and the comparison for veterans against the overall beneficiary population looks good

* Social Security benefit amounts are higher among veterans than among nonveterans, even when the sample of nonveterans is restricted to men

* The average monthly Social Security benefit for veterans is $1,008 compared with $892 for male nonveterans

* In the 62-74 age groups, monthly Social Security benefits average $1,028 for veterans and $957 for male nonveterans

* For the older 75-84 age groups, benefits for veterans average $991, modestly higher than $934 for the peer group of male nonveterans

* In very old age, aged 85 or older, older veterans receive average monthly benefits of $1,057 compared with $946 for male nonveterans in the same age group

Source: http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v66n2/v66n2p1.html

Comments