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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Death Benefits

(Posted April 20, 2004)

Question 431: My dad had 17 years of rail service. He recently died. Does Railroad Retirement provide the same type of benefits as survivors of the old Penn-Central Railroad receive?

Answer: When a rail worker dies, survivor benefits are provided under federal law by Railroad Retirement or by Social Security, regardless of the identity of the worker's employer.

If your father was "insured for survivor benefits" under Railroad Retirement, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) is responsible. Otherwise, Social Security would pay. In either situation, benefits would be based on combined earnings while employed by an employer covered under either system.

You should contact the district office of the RRB serving your area for further assistance. You can use the link at the bottom of this Q&A to find the address and phone number of that office.

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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