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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Leaving Rail Work Before 60 With 30 Or More Years(60/30 Vesting)

(Posted January 11, 2003)

Question 207: Does the newly enacted 60/30 program cover employees who have 30 years of service but leave the railroad before age 60? I will have 30 years at 56. If I quit the railroad then, will I still get full benefits at 60 no matter what I do between 56 and 60?

Answer: Once you get 30 years you are vested for a full retirement benefit at 60 even if you leave your rail job before then.

But here are some potential "penalties" if you leave before age 60 and get another job:

(1) You might lose your "current connection" by the time you reach 60. If you do, you will not receive a Supplemental Railroad Retirement Annuity of $45 a month. (This might not matter, if you are eligible for a supplemental pension directly from your former railroad employer.) Your survivors will draw benefits after your death from Social Security based on your combined earnings under both systems.

(2) If you are working at 60, your Tier 1 will be reduced if your earnings are more than the anuual limit (currently about $11,000 per year). In addition, your Tier 2 also might be reduced if you continue to work for the same employer you are working for at 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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