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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Railroad Attorney Dies Without a Current Connection With Railroad Industry

(Posted July 2, 2013 Revised August 21, 2013)

Question 1026: My late husband had 20 years of employment with the railroad. He was one of the company's attorneys during his final stay in 1995. The main office building was sold and jobs were lost. There wasn't another Union Pacific attorney job available anywhere. He worked at another firm. Now I am trying to collect widow's benefits but I am continually told I don't qualify. I am angry because the railroad automatically deducted money from his paycheck and I get nothing in return. I get only Social Security benefits. We believed that the benefits would be available to us since he was vested. Now I am told they aren't. What recourse do I have?

Answer: Your late husband was not vested for Survivor Benefits because he did not have a "Current Connection" with the railroad industry when he died. His rail service & earnings were combined with his earnings under Social Security in determining survivor benefits paid by Social Security.

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 or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes 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 law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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