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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Problem With Incorrect Date of Death

(Posted March 22, 2003)

Question 227: My grandfather, a retired rail worker, passed away on January 23, 2003. His benefits were being directly deposited into a joint checking account with my mother. Due to an error at the Railroad Retirement Board, the year of death was recorded as 2002, not 2003. As a result, my mother's funds have been "frozen" by the financial organization. She is on a fixed income and is not able to withdraw any funds. We have submitted a copy of my grandfather's death certificate, but the RRB has not taken any action to correct the situation. What should we do now?

Answer: I am sorry to hear about the problem with your grandfather's claim.
I suggest you contact the RRB and ask them to remove the hold on the bank account if the date of death discrepancy has now been resolved. The RRB error triggered an automated system which recovers through the Federal Reserve payments deposited directly into bank accounts for periods after death. It is designed to protect Federal Government payments from fraud. In this case, the RRB needs to reverse the recovery action.

In the meantime, you can contact the financial institution, show them the death certificate, and ask them if they can immediately release the funds to your mother.

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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