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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Post Retirement Employment Restriction

(Posted December 3, 2001)

Question 142: I understand that after I retire, I can not return to work at my last nonrailroad employer. There must be some exceptions. How can I find out what they are without going to a lawyer?

Answer: In addition to the same earnings restrictions as apply to Social Security, retired railroad employees and wives are also subject to post retirement employment restrictions for railroad and "last person employment."

If you return to railroad work, your annuity would be suspended-- it would not be paid for any month in which you worked for a railroad.

If your last employer before retirement was not a railroad, and you return to work for them, you will lose $1 in your Tier 2 for every $2 you earn up to a maximum reduction of 50% of the Tier 2. Unlike earnings restrictions, the reduction is applied even if you are over 65.

There are a couple of exceptions. If you have an elected public office or if you are self employed, the restriction may not apply. But you need to disclose all of the facts to the Railroad Retirement Board and ask them for a formal determination.

The best place to get most authoritive information on this subject and how it applies in your case is the Railroad Retirment Board (go to to get the location, phone number and e-mail address of the district office for your area).

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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