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How To Protect Current Connection When Retiring Early
(Posted January 17, 2002(Revised June 8, 2002))
Question 154: I retired from the railroad at 56. I have 30 years and I plan to file for the new unreduced 60/30 benefit at 60. I want to protect my "current connection" and I only worked in a minimum wage job for 12 months after I left the railroad. Is it true that I can still work and make less than a $1,000 a year without breaking my current connection? How about if I work for a non-profit organization? Is there any exception for this type of employment?
Answer: "Current Connection" is one of the most complex subjects to explain in plain English but I will try to simplify it.
When you retired at 56, you had the first 18 months to work and earn as much as you could without affecting your current connection status. Once you reach the 19th month (about 57-1/2), you need to restrict your earnings from employment to $999.99 or less a calendar year.
There are some exceptions, but none involving not-for-profit organizations. For example, employment with certain tranportation related Federal agencies, Canadian railroads and the Alaska Railroad doesn't count. Nor does self employment.
While you don't need a current connection to get a 60/30 benefit, you do need one to qualify for a Supplemental Annuity, or for your survivors to draw benefits after your death.
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