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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Rail Widow Told She Can't Receive Own Social Security Benefit

(Posted July 27, 2014)

Question 1159: I am 72. I work part-time, making about $1,200 gross per month. I receive a Widow's Annuity from Railroad Retirement due to my husband, the rail worker, having predeceased me. I have been told I cannot receive any of my Social Security unless I give up the Widow's Annuity, which is more than my Social Security would be.

Answer: I don't know who told you that information but it's not correct. You are free to file for your own Social Security. But understand that the Tier 1 of your Widow's Annuity will be reduced by the amount of your Social Security benefit, so you might not receive any more 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.

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