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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits for Divorced Spouses

(Posted September 24, 2003)

Question 311: I will qualify for one-half of my ex-husband's Railroad Retirement benefits for 20 years of his service. I have worked 40 years and paid into Social Security. How are my total benefits affected by this?

What portion of each do I receive and when?

Also, my ex-husband is currently on Railroad Retirement disability at age 54. When does his Railroad Retirement kick in instead of the disability?

How would I find (or calculate) an estimated dollar amount of my retirement income?

Answer: You can begin to receive a divorced spouse's benefit from Railroad Retirement at 62, if your former husband is at least 62.

After working for 40 years, your own Social Security benefit may be higher than a divorced spouse's benefit. Since the divorced spouse's benefit is reduced by your own Social Security, you might not receive any benefits from Railroad Retirement.

The best place to get an accurate estimate of what you will receive at 62 is the nearest office of the Railroad Retirement Board. You will need your former husband's Social Security number. You can probably get the answer over the phone.

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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