Question 24: What is the maximum monthly Railroad Retirement benefit?
Answer: In 2000, the maximum monthly benefit payable to a newly retired Rail worker and his/her wife/husband is $4,550 a month. This is about double the 2000 maximum Social Security benefits paid to a retired worker and spouse.
In looking at the maximum benefit, please keep in mind that these amounts are only payable to relatively few families, as very few Rail workers have consistently earned the maximum amount credited each year.
For 2001, the maximum creditable earnings for both Railroad Retirement and Social Security is $80,400.
It may be more realistic to look at the averages of benefits awarded to newly retired workers. As of September 30, 2000(the latest period for which statistics are available), the average new regular retirement benefit was $2,305 (as compared to $1,060 under Social Security). If a Spouse benefit is added, the combined average is $3,245. And if a Supplemental Railroad Retirement amount is added, the average is about $3,280 a month(compared to about $1,590 under Social Security.)