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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
(Posted September 30, 2003)
Question 314: My husband works for Union Pacific Railroad (previously Chicago & Northwestern Railroad). His start date was in September of 1978. He recently vested with 20 years of service. He wants to know his retirement options. Specifically, after 30 years, do you have to be age 60 before you can retire? What definition of compensation is used?
Answer: With 30 or more years of service, your husband will be eligible for an unreduced annuity under Railroad Retirement at 60.
You will qualify for a wife's annuity when you reach 60, if your husband is at least 60 and is receiving Railroad Retirement.
Railroad Retirement uses both Railroad earnings and any earnings your husband had under Social Security to calculate its Tier 1 benefit. There is an annual ceiling on creditable earnings, which has ranged from $3,600 in the early days of both programs to $87,000 for 2003.
Only Railroad earnings are used to calculate the Tier 2 benefit. The ceiling for 2003 is $64,500.
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
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