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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Timing the Starting of a Spouse Annuity

(Posted August 24, 2016)

Question 1251: I am currently working and plan to retire next year in August, when I turn 66. Railroad Retirement told me I can start collecting my husband's Railroad Retirement benefit (he retired in January) in the year in which I turn 66 (which would be 2017). Tier 1 would be the full amount and Tier 2 would be half. When I retire, I could choose to receive my Social Security benefit (which is higher), stop the Tier 1 and continue to collect the full Tier 2. Is this correct?


First of all, your Tier 1 is 50% of your husband's Tier 1, and your Tier 2 is 45% of hisTier 2. If you are awarded your own Social Security, your Tier 1 will be reduced by that amount. You don't have to take any action because SSA will send your payment to the RRB so it can adjust your Tier 1 before you receive the payment.

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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