Social Security information for veterans, spouses
November 1, 2020
Veterans and active duty military can count on Social Security
Every year on Veterans Day, we honor the people who risk their lives to protect our country. Our disability program is an important part of our obligation to wounded warriors and their families.
Social Security is an important resource for military members who return home with injuries. If you know a wounded veteran, please let them know about our Wounded Warriors webpage. You can find it at http://www.ssa.gov/woundedwarriors.
The Wounded Warriors webpage answers many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of their Social Security disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.
We apply our expedited process for military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.
Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits.
We honor veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the respect they deserve. Let these heroes know they can count on us when they need us most. They earned these benefits. Our webpages are easy to share on social media and by email with your friends and family. Please consider passing this information along to someone who may need it.
Social Security spouses’ benefits explained
Understanding how your future retirement might affect your spouse is important. Here are a few things to remember when you’re planning for your retirement.
Your spouse’s benefit amount could be up to 50 percent of your full retirement age benefit amount. If you qualify for a benefit from your own work history and a spouse’s record, we always pay your own benefit first. You cannot receive spouse’s benefits unless your spouse is receiving their retirement benefits (except for divorced spouses).
If you took your reduced retirement first while waiting for your spouse to reach retirement age, your own retirement portion remains reduced. When you add spouse’s benefits later, the total retirement and spouses benefit together will total less than 50 percent of the worker’s amount. You can find out more about this at http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/quickcalc/spouse.html.
If your spouse’s retirement benefit is higher than your retirement benefit, and he or she chooses to take reduced benefits and dies first, your survivor benefit will be reduced, but may be higher than what your spouse received.
If your deceased spouse started receiving reduced retirement benefits before their full retirement age, a special rule called the retirement insurance benefit limit may apply to you. The retirement insurance benefit limit is the maximum survivor benefit you may receive. Generally, the limit is the higher of:
The reduced monthly retirement benefit the deceased spouse would have been entitled to if they had lived, or
82.5 percent of the unreduced deceased spouse’s monthly benefit if they had started receiving benefits at their full retirement age (rather than choosing to receive a reduced retirement benefit early).
Knowing about these benefits can help you plan your financial future. Access a wealth of useful information and use our benefits planners at http://www.ssa.gov/benefits/retirement.
How to replace a missing Social Security Card online
If you need to replace your lost or misplaced Social Security card, our online application makes getting a replacement card easier than ever. Requesting a card replacement online is available if you live in the District of Columbia or one of the 45 states that can verify state ID information for us. If you’re only requesting a replacement card and you’re making no changes, you may be able to use our free online service.
All you need to do is create a personal my Social Security account at http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount and meet certain requirements. Opening a personal my Social Security account is easy, convenient, and secure. We protect your information by using strict identity verification and security features. Once you have a personal account, simply follow the instructions to request a replacement Social Security card.
You can apply for a replacement card online, if you meet all of the following requirements:
Are a U. S. citizen age 18 or older with a U.S. mailing address (this includes APO, FPO, and DPO addresses).
Are not requesting any changes to your card (including a name change).
Have a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card.
In many cases, you may not need a replacement card; often, simply knowing your Social Security number is enough.
But if you do need a replacement card, please visit our website at http://www.ssa.gov/ssnumber to find out if you can take advantage of this convenient online service.