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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Divorced Widow Received Wrong Information from Social Security

(Posted October 21,2013)

Question 1067: I will be 62 in December this year. My ex-husband retired several years ago. We were married for 19 years and have been divorced for over 20 years. I have not remarried, although he has. I now get a small Tier 2 check each month from the divorce settlement. If I draw on his Railroad retirement when I reach 62, I will get about $760 a month according to the Railroad Retirement Board. RRB also tells me that at age 66 I will be able to drop his Railroad Retirement benefit and switch to my Social Security benefit, which will pay considerably more. I am afraid to do this because the Social Security Administration people have told me that if I draw on his Railroad Retirement benefit at 62, I will not be able to switch to Social Security at 66. I am still working and only make about $22,500 a year. Can you advise me?

Answer: I'm sorry, but the Social Security Administration did not give you correct information.

You are entitled to take a Railroad Retirement Divorced Spouse Annuity at 62 and you can defer taking your higher Social Security until you reach your full retirement age. At that point, your Railroad Retirement Divorced Spouse Annuity will be reduced to zero.

You will be eligible to Medicare as a "Qualified Railroad Retirement Beneficiary."

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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