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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Dual Benefits for Married Couple

(Posted November 13, 2003)

Question 331: My wife was employed by two different railroads and accumulated 180 months of service under Railroad Retirement. I have been employed in the private sector and have more than the minimum number of quarters to qualify for Social Security. We are planning for our retirement and would like to know if we are entitled to receive benefits from railroad retirement and social security, respectively.

Answer: Your situation is typical. Your wife is vested for Railroad Retirement. She can receive a reduced retirement benefit at 62. You can qualify to a reduced spouse benefit as early as 62. Your Tier 1 will be reduced by the amount of your own Social Security benefit but the reduction does not apply to your Tier 2.

She can also qualify for a spouse benefit at Social Security but Tier 1 of her Railroad Retirement benefit will be reduced by the amount of those benefits, so she might not wind up with any more in total 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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