TN 20 (11-98)

RS 01702.192 Federal Retirement and Survivor Systems

A. Introduction

A Federal agency (other than VA) determination that a periodic benefit (or a lump sum in lieu of periodic benefits) is payable based on pre-1957 MS may bar SS MS wage credits.

The following sections identify certain military and civilian Federal benefits which either:

  • preclude pre-1957 wage credits without further development, or

  • require development to determine creditability.

B. Policy

1. Development of payment by another Federal agency

  1. Lead to further development

    The application for Social Security benefits and the ADDB screen ask about receipt of benefits from another Federal agency. This is a lead to further development. If the question is answered “yes” and all or part of the MS was before 1957, complete a Form SSA-2512 (Pre-1957 MS Federal Benefit Questionnaire) or one of the MCS Military Retirement/Federal Benefit screens (i.e., CLMR or NHMR). (See MSOM MCS 005.017 and MSOM MCS 005.034 respectively, for how to complete these screens.)

    Evaluating information on the form or on the screens may lead to a determination that pre-1957 MS is not creditable for SSA purposes; or it may be necessary to obtain additional information before making a determination of the creditability of the service. This will usually be either an SSA-654-U4 or an SSA-655-U2.

  2. Limiting development

    MS development is not always necessary. For instance, the veteran may not be insured or the benefit may be unaffected even with the inclusion of pre-1957 MS wage credits. If the veteran had active duty or active duty for training after 1956 and is retired from one of the uniformed services, he or she may receive gratuitous wage credits for active MS 1951-1956 regardless of how that service is used for military retired pay; it is not necessary to develop the military retired pay.

    Be alert for development which may be required because of receipt on the benefit amount or insured status, development is not required.

2. Previous benefits from another Federal agency

Entitlement to a periodic benefit from another Federal agency in the past may bar pre-1957 MS wage credits, even if current Federal benefits status would not. If there is an allegation of previous entitlement to a benefit from another Federal agency, full development of that benefit should be undertaken. This is because a determination that a benefit is or was payable (even if never paid, if waived, or if terminated later) bars pre-1957 MS credits.

A veteran may allege receipt of VA compensation because of a service-connected disability. Such benefits are tax-free and may be higher than the military retirement and are thereby advantageous, but all or part of the military retirement must be waived. (See RS 01702.197 for disability retirement from Federal service.) In these situations, the basis for the military retirement must be investigated even though it is fully waived.

The same holds true for civil service annuitants who waive benefits in order to receive Federal “workmen's compensation” (see RS 01702.228 for a discussion of other Federal benefit systems). The basis for the civil service benefits must be investigated.

3. Allegation of no Federal benefit

Pre-1957 MS wage credits may be granted without contacting another Federal agency if the claimant states that no other benefit has been or may be determined payable, and the known facts support this allegation. Normally, the statement of the veteran or a close relative who would have knowledge of the veteran's affairs may be accepted, provided there is nothing in the file which casts any doubt upon it. Resolve any doubt by obtaining further information from the claimant or from the agency involved.

If the claimant is not the veteran, the file must show the basis for assuming the claimant has personal knowledge of whether another benefit is payable. If the claimant is not a close relative, or is a close relative who is not in a position to know of the veteran's personal affairs, more detailed development is required.

Try to obtain information from close relatives or close friends. In this type of case, a more detailed RC should be prepared (primarily in survivor claims) giving the basis for the knowledge of the person(s) contacted and a summary of the information obtained.


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