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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits After Divorce From Rail Worker

(Posted August 4, 2003)

Question 294: When there's a divorce involving a rail worker, what Railroad Retirement benefits is the other person entitled to?

Answer: The post-divorce benefit for a former spouse differs for the two benefit tiers provided by Railroad Retirement.

For Tier 1, a former spouse can receive a monthly benefit at 62, with the following restrictions: (1) the former spouse must not be married; (2) the benefit amount is restricted to what Social Security would pay a former spouse based on those same earnings; and (3) the benefit is reduced by any other Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefit the former spouse receives.

For Tier 2 there is no "automatic" benefit, but the rail worker's Tier 2 can be divided beween the two parties as part of the property settlement in the final divorce decree. In this situation, the benefit will become payable to the former spouse when the rail worker begins to receive Railroad Retirement. A copy of the final divorce decree needs to be sent to the Railroad Retirement Board. The RRB's web site has more information about this, at http://www.rrb.gov (click).

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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