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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

New 60/30 Full Retirement Benefits

(Posted December 17, 2001)

Question 144: I retired last Feburary 2001. I had 42 years of service and was under the impression that the change to 60/30 retirement (eliminating the age reduction) would be retroactive to January 2001, meaning I would be covered. Now I find out that the version enacted into law has a January 2002 effective date. I really feel cheated. Do I have any recourse?

Answer: I really can sympathize with you. As sometimes happens when legislation stays pending for a long time, the original effective dates change right before the legislation becomes law. And Congress sometimes forgets that thousands of innocent people get caught in the switch.

In this case, the proposal has been around for almost 2 years, and has at times faced a rocky and uncertain fate. The last hurdle was in the Senate, where it died last year. This time it took over 2 weeks to work its way through the mase of procedural blockages. Along the way, the effective dates were updated to relect the fact that it was being passed in late 2001 rather than 2000. This lowered the cost of the changes and took away one argument of the senators opposed to the legislation.

You do have some recourse: you could withdraw your original application and refile with a January 1, 2001 beginning date. You would have to repay the 11 months of reduced payments you received, but you might come out ahead in the long run. The Railroad Retirement Board can compute the difference and show you at what future point you would be ahead by withdrawing and refiling. Contact the local RRB office you filed at last year and ask them to work up the figures for you to compare.

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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