On Memorial Day, it is important to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We at Social Security honor the heroism and courage of our military service members and mourn for those who have given their lives in defense of freedom.
It also is important to recognize those service members who are still with us, especially those who have recently been wounded. They have served us; likewise we serve them.
Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Social Security also has covered inactive duty service in the Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) since 1988.
If you served in the military before 1957, you did not pay Social Security taxes, but we gave you special credit for some of your service.
You can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits.
You will get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings. When you reach age 65, you'll also be eligible for Medicare.
If you have health care insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA program, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare.
You should contact the VA, the Department of Defense, or a military health benefits adviser for more information.
If you have served in the Armed Forces and you are planning your retirement, you will want to read our publication, Military Service and Social Security at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10017.html
You also may want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm
Finally, find out about expedited benefits for wounded warriors at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs/10131.html.
Note: Social Security offices will be closed on Monday.
Get answers to your Social Security questions each Thursday from the Social Security District Director Martin Coffey. Submit questions by writing to Business Editor Dave Flessner, Chattanooga Times Free Press, P.O. Box 1447, Chattanooga, TN 37401-1447, or by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.