Person Claims Grandfather's Military Disability Payment Is Worth Thousands, Internet Disagrees

Allison DeGrushe - Author

Jul. 18 2023, Published 3:37 p.m. ET

On July 12, 2023, Reddit user u/lillyjb took to the "antiwork" subreddit and revealed that their grandfather's military disability payment from 1957 is worth thousands in today's dollars.

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Read on for the whole story. Plus, stick around to hear what the internet has to say about this revelation! Let's just say, most of the internet doesn't agree.

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Is a grandfather's military disability payment from 1957 worth thousands in today's dollars?

"My grandmother was complaining about how tight their finances were when she first got married in 1957," the OP wrote. "Her husband was receiving $800/mo with his disability pay, and she was making about $600/mo working odd no-skill jobs. [The] mortgage was only $150/mo."

The OP noted that "in today's dollars, that's a household income of $15,400/mo or $185,000 annually." Wow — the average person could only dream of having an income like that these days!

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The post racked in thousands of comments, with many fellow Redditors sharing similar sentiments.

"My mother-in-law was making $20,000 as a secretary in the '70s," one person said. "She always talks about it as some dumb job; all of her friends got jobs there [and] nobody knew what they were doing or had any background. Some had HS degrees, others none. But she was casually earning the equivalent of $80,000–$100,000. Way more than any of her children make with advanced degrees and years of experience."

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Another Reddit user wrote, "My dad put in tiles on construction projects in the '90s. We had just arrived [in] the U.S. in the 80s. He was making about $50,000, which is $120,000 today. He made more [from] his first job in the U.S. than I do in IT 20 [plus] years into my career."

He added that his parents paid off their houses (yes, you read that right) in five years.

"My dad was a high school dropout hitch-hiking hippie in the '60s–'70s, got a job at a theater as a janitor," said a third Reddit user. "No HS diploma, no skills, [but] ended up making somewhere around $70,000–$80,000 a year, got health insurance, FOUR WEEKS of vacation every year, as a janitor. It took a toll on him physically, he did a lot of the work by himself, but seriously. C'mon, man."

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On the other hand, several Redditors told the OP that there's no way his grandfather was banking $800 a month from military disability.

"There was literally no way for ANYONE to make $800 a month disability in 1957. In 1957, they were using the 1955 pay scale (which was updated in 1958)," Redditor u/Goober_94 commented.

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They continued, "On the 1955 pay scale, An E-5 sergeant, with five years of service would receive $183 a month on active duty, max disability in 1957 was 70 percent of Active-duty base pay assuming they were 100 percent disabled (Lost legs, etc.). That would be $128 a month in disability. Even today, soldiers will rarely get paid $800 a month on disability, and the disability system remains pretty much unchanged since the '50s (I am a veteran on disability)."

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"To get close [to] $800 a month on disability in 1957, your grandfather would have had to have completely maxed out the pay scale," the Reddit user added. "You can calculate the max your grandfather was actually getting by taking his rank and years in service on the pay scale and [multiply] it by 0.7."

They concluded, "I also have serious doubts that [your] grandmother was making $600 a month. $7,200 a year would have put her in the top 2 percent of wage earners in 1957; the average wage for women in 1957 was $3,008 per year. I think your numbers are WAY off here."

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