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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Updated 2000 Maximums and Averages for Payments

(Posted August 7, 1999; revised March 3, 2001)

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.)

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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