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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits Can Be Paid to More Than One "Widow"

(Posted November 22, 2002)

Question 201: I recently married a railroad worker with 32 years of service. He had been married for over 30 years until his divorce last year. How is the survivor benefit split among the two of us in the event of his death?

Answer: I have good news! Each of you can qualify for seperate survivor's benefits.

As his wife at the time of his death, you will be eligible for a full widow's benefit: both Tier 1 and Tier 2. This assumes you will have been married for at least nine months at the time of his death.

The former wife qualifies for a smaller benefit, as a former wife who is now divorced. Her amount would be limited to what Social Security who have paid if your husband's rail work had been covered by Social Security. To qualify, she will have to be unmarried when she reaches 60.

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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