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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Early Retirement and Future Benefits

(Posted May 8, 2003)

Question 253: I will retire at 55 with 34 years of railroad service. Are any Railroad Retirement benefits payable before 60? Will I receive a Supplemental Annuity? Do Tier 1 & Tier 2 offset each other?

Answer: Unless you are disabled, you will not be eligible for Railroad Retirement until you are 60.

It depends on what you do between 55 and 60 as to whether you will be eligible for a Supplemental Annuity. If you work and have substantial earnings, you will lose your "Current Connection" (see my answer to Q&A 219 of this column), and you will not be eligible for a Supplemental Annuity. In that event, your survivors will receive benefits from Social Security but not Railroad Retirement.

Your Tier 1 and Tier 2 are computed under different formulas; they are not offset for each other. But Tier 1 is offset for any Social Security benefit you 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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