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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Merging Railroad Retirement with Social Security

(Posted August 18, 2013)

Question 1046: Can Railroad Retirement ever be 'taken over' and merged with Social Security?

Answer: While no one can predict the future, it seem very unlikely that Railroad Retirement will ever be merged with Social Security. First, it would take a major act of the Congress and approval of the President to merge both systems. Social Security currently (June 2013) pays monthly benefits to over 57 million people. It covers almost all employed people in hundreds of industries and occupations. Social Security pays a single benefit. Railroad Retirement, on the other hand, pays about monthly benefits to about 600,000 people and covers 240,000 employees who are working in the rail industry. It generally pays a unique two-tiered benefit consisting of a Social Security type benefit coupled with a private employer pension.

Administratively, it would be difficult for Social Security to handle about one million beneficiaries differently under different rules that apply to everyone else. The Federal Government already saves money by currently combining Railroad Retirement and Social Security into a single monthly payment made by the Railroad Retirement Board.

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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