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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Mother Took Widow's Annuity from Railroad Retirement Instead of Own Social Security

(Posted March 15, 2014)

Question 1112: My father died in 2002 at the age of 70. My mother was told to choose between a Widow's railroad pension or her own Social Security benefits. She was 66 at the time. The Widow's Annuity was higher so she chose that. Has anything changed? Does Social Security owe her money?

Answer: It sounds like the government agencies were trying to save your mother the time and trouble of filing for both benefits when she wouldn't receive any more in monthly benefits than just filing for a Widow's Annuity from Railroad Retirement. If she had applied for her own Social Security, her Tier 1 would have been reduced by that benefit, so she would have been receiving the same amount in total monthly 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.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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