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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Divorce Lowers Spouse Benefits

(Posted April 23, 2003)

Question 250: My husband is 74 and receives a Railroad Retirement pension. I'm 65 and currently receive a spouse benefit, which consists of Tier 1 and Tier 2. If we divorce, how will my spouse benefit be impacted?

Answer: Your regular spouse benefit will be converted to a lower divorced spouse benefit. Your new benefit would not include a Tier 2. It probably would be less than your current Tier 1. This is because it would be computed under the more restrictive Social Security rules rather than the more liberal Railroad Retirement method.

If you and your husband divorce, you should notify the Railroad Retirement Board as soon as the final decree is issued so they can timely adjust your payments and avoid making overpayments.

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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