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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Rail Worker and Spouse Do Not Have to Apply at Same Time

(Posted September 28, 2013)

Question 1059: I worked for the railroad for 20 years and paid into Social Security at least 18 years. I decided to take my Social Security at 64 and defer Railroad Retirement. My wife is planning to take her Social Security at 62 and also defer the Railroad Retirement spouse benefit to when she turns 66 (we have a 2-year difference in ages). Once I claim my Railroad Retirement benefit at 66, can my wife wait until she is 66 to claim the spouse benefit? Or must she take her spouse benefit when I request it?

Answer: You and your wife can apply for Railroad Retirement at different times. The plan you've described make sense to maximize your benefits.


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.


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