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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Any Furthur Benefits or Refunds When a Single Railroad Retiree Dies Shortly After Retiring?

(Posted August 1, 2001)

Question 121: My dad worked for the railroad for over 35 years. He retired but only lived for a few years. My mom died before he did. What happens to the money he paid into the pension fund?

Answer: If your dad worked for at least 10 years before 1975, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) should have paid a lump sum death benefit to the funeral home or the person who paid for his funeral and burial. The payment averages almost $900.

You should ask the RRB if a Residual Lump Sum benefit is payable to family members. In determining if there is a Residual benefit, the RRB will subtract all of the benefits paid out from the total taxes he paid through December 31, 1974. To find the local office serving your area, go to

Although portions of Railroad Retiremnt are similiar to a private industry pension plan, one major difference is there is no guarantee that all of the worker's contributions will be paid out. Only the amount the worker paid through 1974 is guaranteed.

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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