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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

When Spouse Becomes Widow

(Posted December 28, 2003)

Question 352: My father recently passed away at 73. He started working for the railroad in 1946 and retired from the railroad on disability in the 1980's. My mother is 65; she has been collecting a spouse annuity for the past few years. Will my mother now receive my father's annuity? She has not started collecting Social Security yet. Does she continue to receive her Spouse Annuity too?

Answer: Your mother will now receive a Widow's Annuity in place of her Spouse Annuity. It should be about the same amount that your father had been receiving before his death. But, because her Spouse Annuity ends, she will receive less in benefits than they both received before your father died.

The RRB will convert her Spouse Annuity to a Widow's Annuity as soon as she submits a certified copy of your father's death certificate. Be sure that they are notified as soon as possible of your father's death so they can stop his payments timely. Otherwise your mother's benefits may be interrupted in the future to recover any overpayment.

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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