5 Things Veterans Need to Know About Retirement Benefits
November 11 is Veterans Day, when we all take time to honor those who have served in the US Armed Forces. There are 22 million veterans in the United States, but according to the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, less than half of that number used some kind of Veterans Benefits Administration service last year. That could be because they aren’t aware of what they might qualify for. Here are five things every veteran needs to know about their retirement benefits.
1. The longer you serve, the higher your retirement benefits are
Any serviceman or woman who spent at least 20 years in the military are eligible for military retirement benefits. The amount of income that you may receive is normally based on years of service and your last military rank and wage.
2. Veterans may also qualify for Social Security retirement benefits
That’s right – earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Furthermore, you can get both Social Security benefits AND military retirement, with no reduction of Social Security benefits BECAUSE of your military retirement benefits, in many cases. You’ll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings.
3. Military Retirement Benefits may also act as a type of life insurance
If a retired serviceman or woman who was receiving military retirement benefits dies, a monthly annuity becomes available through the Survivor Benefit Plan to a surviving wife or widower. It can also go to the retiree’s children, or a former spouse (with qualifying conditions), or another designated beneficiary. This amount is paid for the survivors’ lifetime.
4. Benefits are available to beneficiaries if a service member dies in the line of duty
These are called Dependency and Indemnity Compensation, or DIC, Benefits, and they apply to spouses, children, and parents of anyone who died while in active service. This program is specific to dependents of military members who died while serving after 1956. In addition, these surviving beneficiaries may also be eligible for the service member’s Social Security benefit, as long as the survivor is alive and has not remarried.
5. Not all spouses will qualify for these Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits
If you’re a surviving spouse of someone who died in the line of duty but you were not married for at least one year, you may not qualify for those particular benefits. However – a surviving spouse is always eligible when the marriage produced a child or children.
These are just a few of the many retirement benefits available to military members and their families. If you have questions or concerns about any of these, you should call the Department of Veterans Affairs at 1-800-827-1000. From all of us at Lucia Capital Group to everyone who has served in the United States Armed Forces, we thank you for your service, and we wish you all a happy Veterans Day.
Information presented should not be considered specific tax, legal, or investment advice. You should always seek counsel of the appropriate advisor prior to making any investment decision. All investments are subject to risk including the loss of principal.
Raymond J. Lucia Jr. is Chairman and CEO of Lucia Capital Group, a registered investment advisor, and of its subsidiary broker-dealer, Lucia Securities, LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Lucia Capital Group, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through Lucia Securities, LLC. Registration with the SEC does not imply a certain level of skill or training.
No client or prospective client should assume that the information contained herein (or any component thereof) serves as the receipt of, or a substitute for, personalized advice from Lucia Capital Group, its investment adviser representatives, affiliates or any other investment professional.