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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits For Divorced Spouses

(Posted August 13, 2002)

Question 186: My husband was injured on his railroad job. He received a settlement and was awarded a disability benefit from Railroad Retirement. After 22 years of marriage, he recently filed for divorce. I have been a stay at home mother with no Social Security of my own. What am I entiled to, under Railroad Retirement, as a divorced spouse?

Answer: Because you have been married for over 20 years, you could get a divorced spouse benefit at age 62. If your husband dies, you could get a widow's benefit as a former divorced wife at age 60. The amount would be the same as what Social Security would pay if he had not worked for a railroad. The benefit would be reduced by any Social Security you qualified for, and it would end if you remarried.

You cannot receive a Tier 2 benefit from Railroad Retirement as a divorced spouse or widow. But you can receive a portion of your husband's Tier 2 if your final divorce decree includes a partition order that awards you a specific amount or percentage of your husband's Tier 2. Please see Q&As 97 and 98 of this column for more information on this subject.

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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