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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Spouse Gets Separate Benefit Under Railroad Retirement

(Posted September 24, 2003)

Question 310: If I'm a spouse and my husband retires from the railroad, do I also get a benefit from Railroad Retirement?

Answer: Yes, when you and your husband reach the eligibility ages.

If he has 30 or more years of rail service and he is at least 60, you will be eligible for a separate spouse's benefit as early as 60.

If your husband has less than 30 years of credits and he is at least 62, you will be eligible at 62 also but your benefit would be reduced if you are under the normal retirement age.

Your spouse's benefit will be 50% of your husband's Tier 1 benefit, less any separate Social Security benefit you are receiving.

Your spouse's benefit also will be 45% of your husband's Tier 2 benefit (it is not affected by your Social Security benefit, if any).

If you think you are eligible now, you should contact the nearest office of the Railroad Retirement Board for assistance in filing an application. You will need to furnish certified copies of your birth certificate and your marriage certificate.

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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