Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay
Courtesy: Social Security Administration

On Memorial Day, we honored the men and women who died while courageously serving in the United States military. We also recognized active duty service members, especially those who were wounded and others who served our nation in past wars.

Policymakers put into place laws and benefits to protect our heroes and their families. For example, Social Security provides survivors, disability, retirement and Medicare benefits. Social Security has benefits to protect veterans and also provides family benefits to protect the dependents of service members.

Widows, widowers and their dependent children may be eligible for Social Security survivors benefits. You can learn more about Social Security survivors benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/survivors.

Wounded military service members can also receive expedited processing of their disability claims. For example, Social Security will provide expedited processing of disability claims filed by veterans who have a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total, also referred to as P&T. Depending on the situation, some family members of military personnel, including dependent children and, in some cases, spouses, may be eligible to receive benefits. You can get answers to commonly asked questions and find useful information about the application process at www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

Service members can also receive Social Security, as well as military retirement benefits. The good news is that your military retirement benefit does not reduce your Social Security retirement benefit. Learn more about Social Security retirement benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/retirement. You may also want to visit the Military Service page of our Retirement Planner, available at www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/veterans.htm.

Service members are also eligible for Medicare at age 65. If you have health insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA programs, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare. Learn more about Medicare benefits at www.socialsecurity.gov/medicare.

In acknowledgement of those who died for our country, those who served and those who continue to serve today, we at Social Security honor and thank you.

Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay is Social Security’s Public Affairs Specialist in Hawai‘i.


Question: My same-sex partner and I recently married. Will we qualify for Social Security benefits?
Answer: You may be eligible to apply for Social Security benefits. Many factors affect your eligibility for benefits, including how long you worked and your age. Social Security is now processing more claims in which entitlement or eligibility is affected by a same-sex relationship. We encourage you to apply for benefits right away, even if you aren’t sure you’re eligible. Applying now will protect you against the loss of any potential benefits. You can apply safely and securely at www.socialsecurity.gov/applyonline. Learn more about Social Security for same-sex couples by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/same-sexcouples.

Question: I’m planning my retirement. What is the maximum Social Security benefit I might receive?
Answer: The maximum benefit depends on the age at which you retire and how much you earned in your lifetime. For example, if you retire at age 62 in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $2,025. If you retire at full retirement age in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $2,663. If you retire at age 70 in 2015, your maximum benefit will be $3,501. You can estimate your benefits by using our Retirement Estimator at www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Question: I’m retired, and the only income I have aside from my Social Security retirement benefit is from an Individual Retirement Account. Are my IRA withdrawals considered “earnings?” Could they reduce my monthly Social Security benefits?
Answer: No. We do not count non-work income, such as annuities, investment income, interest, capital gains and other government benefits, and they will not affect your Social Security benefits. Most pensions will not affect your benefits. However, your benefit may be affected by a government pension from work on which you did not pay Social Security tax. If you have wages or self-employment income and you are under your full retirement age, this income may affect your benefit amount. For more information, visit our website at www.socialsecurity.gov or call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).


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