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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Minor Child of Disabled Worker

(Posted February 29, 2004)

Question 392: My father was a Railroad employee until he got hurt. Then he started receiving disability benefits from Railroad Retirement. When he became incarcerated, his benefits were divided in half between my mother (for the care of me) and his estranged wife. After about 2 years, his benefits being sent to me completely stopped. Being his minor child, I should have received benefits until I was 18, right?

Answer: As a child under 18, you were not really entitled to your own Railroad Retirement benefits. This is one of the most important differences with Social Security.

Under certain conditions, your father's benefit could have been increased to included your share under the Special Guaranty formula. When he went to prison, certain portions of his benefits are withheld by law. It sounds like the RRB might have paid the additional amount generated by your existence under the Special Guaranty to your mother until your father was released from prison. Then perhaps RRB resumed sending him his entire disability 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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