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Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Divorced Spouse Has Questions About Railroad Retirement

(Posted January 26, 2013)

Question 952: My former husband has 30 years of rail service. He is 60 but has not yet retired. I receive a Disability Insurance benefit from Social Security. When can I start receiving benefits from Railroad Retirement? I have a final divorce degree awarding me a portion of his Tier 2 benefit. When can I start that benefit?

Answer: If you were married for at least 10 years, you can receive a Divorced Spouse Annuity at 62 if you are not married. When you reach 62, you can file for that annuity even if your former husband has not retired. If your Disability Insurance benefit from Social Security is higher than the amount of the Divorced Spouse Annuity would be, you would not receive any Divorced Spouse benefit.

Your portion of your former spouse's Tier 2 will start as soon as he is awarded an annuity by Railroad Retirement. Be sure that the RRB has a copy of your divorce decree.

Important notice: Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner's situation. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of your situation. The laws, regulations and court decisions in this area change frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the laws, regulations or court decisions that occur after the date on which that Q&A is posted.
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