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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
Estimates of Future Benefits May Differ From Actual Payments
(Posted August 9, 2002)
Question 185: Before I decided to take an early retirement package offered by the railroad, RRB gave me an estimate of my Railroad Retirement at 60. Now that I'm nearing 60, the RRB has come up with a lower amount. Can you explain why?
Answer: Estimating future benefits is very tricky. You need to assume future earnings, and even the yearly legal maximums that might limit how much can be credited. Then you have such varibles as Social Security and military service. So the RRB estimate is only that: an estimate.
When I used to provide estimates, I would try to get as close as possible to what I thought the final rate would be but I would use the most "conserative" assumptions so as to avoid overstating the amount. I would carefully explain that to the worker.
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