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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Widow's Benefits Following Remarriage Before Age 60

(Posted August 22, 1999)

Question 26: My husband worked for a Railroad from 1969 until his death in 1990. My children then received Railroad Retirement Benefits until they reached 18. I remarried in 1993 at age 43. My second marriage ended earlier this year in divorce. I'm now 50 & want to know if I'm still eligible for a Widow's Benefit from Railroad Retirement? If so, at what age? I will be eligible to receive Social Security based on my own earnings. Can I receive both benefits?

Cora Z.
Waco, TX

Answer: Normally, remarriage before age 60 ends a widow(er)'s eligibility for Railroad Reitirement in the future. However, if the second marriage ends through death or divorce, the widow(er) again can become eligible for a Railroad Retirement Widow(er)'s Benefit. However, the benefit amount is restricted to the amount that Social Security would pay. This means you can not qualify until Age 62(unless you are "Disabled" & the Railroad Retirement Benefit would be fully reduced by the amount of your own Social Security. If your own Social Security is higher, then you will not receive Railroad Retirement. However, you would still be eligible for Medicare at 65 from Railroad Retirement & the RRB would most likely pay you own Social Security each month.

If you are "Disabled", you may qualify for a reduced Widow(er)'s benefit as early as 50.

You should ask both Social Security & Railroad Retirement for estimates so you can see exactly where you stand.

Robert S. Kaufman

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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