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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Can a Person Collect Both Social Security and Railroad Retirement?

(Posted January 18, 2015)

Question 1232: Can a person collect both Social Security and Railroad Retirement? My wife collects Railroad Retirement, and has paid into the Social Security system for 40 years. For whatever reason, she is not allowed to collect from Social Security because she collects from Railroad Retirement. Can I, as her spouse, collect her Social Security along with my Railroad Retirement?

Answer: This is probably the most frequently asked question. The answer is "YES" but with qualifications.

You can collect both benefits, but the Tier 1 of the Railroad Retirement Annuity is fully reduced by the Social Security Benefit. Depending upon the benefit rate, it may be advantageous to file for one at 62 and delay filing for the other until you reach your full retirement age. Also, depending on the benefit rates, your total monthly income might not increase despite the addition of Social Security.

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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