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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Spouse Benefits

(Posted November 25, 2003)

Question 339: I'm a disabled rail worker, age 62; I receive disability benefits from Railroad Retirement. My wife is 60; she plans to work until 65. When she retires, will she receive a Railroad Retirement spouse's benefit in addition to her own Social Security benefit?

Answer: She will be qualified for both benefits, but her Railroad Retirement spouse's Tier 1 benefit will be reduced by the amount of her monthly Social Security benefit.

If you have 30 or more years of railroad credits, she could qualify for a full spouse benefit now (at age 60 or more). Because she probably won't qualify for Social Security until at least 62, her Tier 1 benefit wouldn't be reduced until then. If you have 30 years or more of railroad credits, she should contact the RRB to find out what her RRB spouse benefit would be so that she can decide whether she wants to retire now.

If you have less than 30 years of railroad credits, the earliest she can qualify as a spouse is when she reaches 62. That benefit would be reduced for her age and by her Social Security benefit.

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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