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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.
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