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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
When a Rail Worker is Not Vested
(Posted October 31, 1999(Revised February 6, 2001))
Question 33: I worked for Metro-North for 5 years. If my employment ends (before my Rail retirement benefit is vested at 10 years), what happens to my Tier 1 and Tier 2 contributions to date?
Answer: If you have less than 10 years of Rail Credits when you retire, those credits are sent to Social Security and are counted along with any other work you have performed for employers under the Social Security system. The transfer is made as part of your application process with the Social Security Administration.
Tier 1 contributions are transferred annually to the two Social Security Trust Funds as part of a very complex "Financial Interchange" between the two systems. This applies to both vested & nonvested rail workers.
Tier 2 contributions are retained in the Railroad Retirement Trust Fund even if the worker has less than 10 years of rail work. Transferring these contributions to the Social Security System is not appropriate since Social Security does not pay a "private pension" component.
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