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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Use of Military Service Credits

(Posted November 17, 1999)

Question 34: I was in the army before I started rail work. Can I use my military service in my rail retirement?

Answer: Under certain conditions, military service in a component of the one of the United States military services (including the Coast Guard) can be counted under Railroad Retirement.

There are two very important conditions. First, any military service must be proceeded by rail service in the same or preceeding calandar year.

If the first requirement is satisfied, the entry into military service must either involuntary (i.e., through the draft or recall from the reserves) or voluntary in a "war service" period. Those "war service" periods are exact dates written into the Railroad Retirement Act but they generally conform to the declared wars or periods of national emergency.

You can find out the exact "war service" periods by contacting the Railroad Retirement Web site at

From the information you furnished in your inquiry, you did not have the required rail service before you went into the service, so your military service cannot be used in your Railroad Retirement 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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