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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

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.)


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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