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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
60/30 Worker Retiring Before Age 60
(Posted February 10, 2004)
Question 377: I'm 56 years old with 38 years of railroad service, counting my military time. I'd like to leave the railroad and live off of my investments until I'm 60. Will this affect my retirement benefits or cause me to lose my Current Connection?
Answer: If you don't work at all, your Tier 1 benefit will be less than it otherwise would be, because you'll have at least 3 years of "zero" earnings in your record. The 5 lowest-earning years are dropped when your monthly average earnings are computed, so the three "zero" years will be dropped. But three other previous years, probably with earnings lower than you're making now, would be used as replacements.
If you stay completely retired from 56 to 60, you would retain your Current Connection.
Other than a slightly lower Tier 1 benefit, there is no other impact from retiring a few years before your Railroad Retirement begins at 60.
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