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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Dual Entitled Rail Family

(Posted January 15, 2014)

Question 1098: My husband has 30+ years of railroad service, never broke his Current Connection, and is 60. He has just started collecting his retirement. I will be turning 60 in the next two months and will start collecting a spouse annuity.

I also worked for the railroad for 16 years and will collect Railroad Retirement benefits when I reach 62. At that time my husband will collect a spouse annuity with respect to my service.

Let's say my husband's retirement benefit is $3,000 a month with another $500 a month added for my spouse annuity when I reach age 62. And let's say my spouse annuity is $1,400 and at age 62 I get my Railroad Retirement benefits of $1,300 which would be a total of $2,700 for me, and $3,500 for my husband.

If he dies before I do, would I take over his benefit of $3,000 because he does have 30+ years service and didn't break his connection? And would I still maintain my spouse annuity?

Answer: You have certainly done your homework!

If either of you has at least one month of rail service before 1975, then your calculations appear to be correct.

Your case is more complex than the average Railroad Retirement case because of the dual entitlement aspect. Therefore, I recommend that you run these numbers by the Railroad Retirement Board. Their toll-free number is: (877) 772-5772.

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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