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Husband and Wife Both Started Rail Service Before 1975
(Posted May 29, 2016)
Question 1247: My husband began with the railroad in 1960 and retired in 2000. I began with the railroad in 1973 and retired in 2007. On two separate occasions, we inquired into the survivor benefits. We were told that because my husband had more than 10 years of service prior to 1974 and because I began employment with the railroad prior to 1974 that the survivor would receive his or her retirement plus the full retirement of the deceased. Since the date of my husband's passing, I have been receiving my retirement and only Tier 2 of my husband's retirement. Were we advised incorrectly?
It appears you are receiving the correct annuities. You don't mention what you received before your husband died, but most likely you and your husband had a total of four annuities: an employee annuity of your own and a spouse annuity. The Tier 1 of your spouse annuity should have been offset by your own employee annuity, but the amount would be restored in Tier 2 because you met the service requirement. Now, as a employee/widow, you receive your employee annuity and a widow annuity that has its Tier 1 offset by your employee annuity, but with a restoration of some sort in Tier 2. (I don't know what percent is used in survivor calculations.)
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