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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Partitioned Tier 2 Payments End With Death of Rail Worker

(Posted April 6, 2003)

Question 238: Please refer to Q&A 236 of this column; could Tier 2 payments awarded to a divorced spouse (through a property settlement) continue after the rail worker's death?

Answer: No; Tier 2 payments end with the death of the rail worker.

The divorced wife could qualify for either a Surviving Divorced Spouse benefit or for a Remarried Widow's benefit.

To get a Surviving Divorced Spouse benefit, the marriage must have lasted at least 10 years and the surviving spouse must be at least 60 (or 50 if disabled) and cannot be married. To get a Remarried Widow's benefit, the surviving spouse must meet the preceding requirements and can only remarry after reaching 60.

Survivor benefits based on divorce are restricted to the amount that the Social Security Administration would pay if railroad service were covered under Social Security. Such benefits also are reduced by any Social Security benefit the divorced spouse is entitled to receive.

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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