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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Whose "Income" is a Spouse Annuity?

(Posted October 31, 2003/Corrected November 1, 2004)

Question 324: My husband is 49; he receives a Railroad Retirement disability annuity. At age 62, I will be getting a spouse annuity. For other insurance income questions such as long term disability, is my spouse's annuity considered as my husband's income or as my income? Because of my husband's disability, will I be able to draw a spouse annuity earlier than if he worked until the normal retirement age?

Answer: Your spouse annuity will be considered to be your income; it will be reported to the Internal Revenue Service as well as to state and local tax authorities under your Social Security number. Of course, under most income tax laws, the income of married couples can be pooled if they elect to file a joint tax return.

Your spouse annuity will not begin any earlier because your husband receives a disability annuity.

If he has 30 or more years of rail service credits, your unreduced spouse annuity can begin at 60, if he is also at least 60.

If he has less than 30 years of rail service credits, your reduced spouse annuity can begin when you both are at least 62.(I want to thank an unidentified reader for calling my attention that a correction was needed.)

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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