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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Vested Railroad Couples

(Posted October 3, 2003)

Question 316: I started with the railroad in 1973 and my wife started in 1977. We plan on using the new 60/30 retirement. How will our retirement be paid?

Answer: If you both have 30 years of service when you reach 60, you both will be eligible for full retirement annuities.

Because your railroad service began before 1975, you also will receive a full spouse annuity from your wife's record and the Tier 1 will not be reduced for your own employee annuity.

Because your wife's railroad service began in 1977, she will have a choice of accepting her own retirement annuity or a spouse annuity based on your record, but she cannot recive both benefits. She will need the exact amounts of each benefits so she can select the higher one.

In summary, you will receive two full benefits, plus your wife will receive one of two benefits, for a total of three separate benefits.

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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