How Does Social Security Disability Affect Military Retirement?
Does Social Security Disability affect military retirement? The short answer is "no." Social Security Disability and military retirement have different criteria that must be met in order to qualify. Receiving one does not mean you will automatically receive the other.
The most important consideration is when the disability happen. If it happened while you were still attached to the military, then you are unlikely to qualify for military retirement. However, if the disability happened after you retired from the military, then Social Security Disability will have no effect on your military retirement benefits. They are two separate government funds set up for two separate purposes.
1957 is the magic year for earning Social Security Disability credits while serving in the military. Members of the military who served prior to 1957 did not contribute to the Social Security fund and, thus, there were no working credits posted which could reduce the actual amount of social security disability benefits that person would have received. Working credits are established by the Social Security Administration and are basically one credit per every $960 earned for a maximum of four credits per year. If someone served 20 years prior to 1957, that is 80 credits of Social Security Disability that they cannot claim compared to someone who joined after 1957. For those who served before, during and after 1957, their Social Security account was credited for any period of time spent in the military after 1957.