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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

No Tax Exemption for Age

(Posted June 5, 2002(Revised June 17, 2002) )

Question 179: I'm 81 and have 6 years with Amtrak as a train attendent. I started my "second career" at 75. Last year, I was off sick for several months but could not receive any sickness benefits beause I receive over $1,100 a month in Social Security. I understand that I'm now vested for Railraod Retirement but I don't expect to receive anything because of my Social Security. I don't think it's fair for me to pay the higher Railroad Retirement payroll taxes and not get a single cent in benefits. Can I sue?

Answer: First of all, I want to advise you that I am not an attorney and cannot give you legal advice.

Neither the Railroad Retirement nor the Social Security programs were really designed for retired people who start a new career later in life. In fact, at the beginning, both programs had severe penalities for post-retirement work.

All workers are required to pay taxes regardless of their age or status. The only way to become exempt is to request your representative or senator to intoduce a "private bill" on your behalf which, if passed by both houses of the Congress and signed by the President, would exempt you from furthur taxation. But that's a real long shot.

You will receive a small Tier 2 benefit because that component of your Railroad Retirement is not reduced for Social Security. If you wereen't working for a railroad, you could receive at least 50% of the Tier 2 benefit now while you were still employed. You should ask the nearest office of the Railroad Retirement Board for an estimate and, when you leave Amtrak, assistance in filing for benefits.

Being vested also has two other "benefits." The RRB should begin paying your Social Security benefits, and those payments now will be made on the first of the month instead of the later Social Security payment date. And the national Medicare carrier for Railroad Retirement beneficiaries should begin processing your Medicare Part B claims.

Good luck and continued good health!

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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