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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Can I Requalify for Benefits from My First Husband, After My Second Husband's Death?

(Posted October 21, 2003)

Question 322: I was married for 27 years before divorcing my husband. I remarried, but both my first and second husbands are now dead. As a single person, am I now entitled to my first husband's Railroad Retirement? I am on Social Security.

Answer: You could qualify for a divorced widow's benefit on your first husband's railroad service with the following limitations.

First, the amount of the benefit would be restricted to what Social Security would pay if his railroad service credits were used at Social Security instead of by Railroad Retirement.

Second, you mention that you get Social Security benefits. If those benefits are more than what you could get from Railroad Retirement based on your first husband's claim, nothing additional will be paid by Railroad Retirement.

You can ask the Railroad Retirement Board how much your benefits will be as the former widow of your first husband. You will need his Social Security Number and his date of death. You can find the location and telephone number of the RRB district office for your area at

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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