Ask Bob: Social Security Benefits Boosted by Military Service

Robert Powell, CFP®

Question: My question revolves around benefits that accrue during a military career. I recently read that a military vet gets some kind of boost to their yearly earnings during the years they serve in the military. It seems that it is automatically added but the article I read cautioned that we should inquire to ensure that the boost was applied. Can you add to this advice, as I am 62 and had a 20-year career in the USAF? Additionally, I have worked another 20 years after retiring from the USAF. Although I do not plan to take Social Security till age 66, how can I be sure when I look up my benefits on the Social Security website that my military service boost has been calculated?

Answer: There are typically two types of pay when in "pre-retirement" military service -- as active duty or in the reserve component: "basic pay" and "allowances, said Michelle Buonincontri, a certified financial planner and founder of Being Mindful in Divorce.

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