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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits for Divorced Spouses

(Posted February 20, 2003)

Question 216: Would I be eligible for any of my former husband's Railroad Retirement? We were married for almost 10 years but I have remarried now.

Answer: By law, there are benefits for former husbands and wives whose marriages ended in divorce from a vested Railroad worker. But to receive those benefits at 62, the marriage must have lasted
at least 10 years and the divorced spouse cannot be currently married. The benefit is limited to exactly what Social Security would have paid if the Railroad work was covered under that program.

Since you have remarried and your previous marriage to a rail worker did not last for 10 years, you are not eligible for a direct Spouse benefit under Railroad Retirement.

A portion of the railroad worker's Tier 2 benefit can be awarded to a spouse as part of the property settlement in a final divorce decree. In that event, a copy of the divorce decree is filed with the Railroad Retirement Board. The benefits begin as soon as the rail worker is entitled to Railroad Retirement. If your final divorce decree provides for you to receive a portion of your former husband's benefits, you should contact the Railroad Retirement Board.

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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