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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

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.

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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