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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Refund of Employee Contributions to Railroad Retirement Funds

(Posted February 12, 2000)

Question 44: I took a voluntary separation payment in May 1997 after 17 years of rail service. Can I pull out my contributions and roll them over into an IRA or 401(k)-type account?

Answer: No, Railroad Retirement contributions actually are payroll taxes and cannot be refunded back to the employee or rolled over into an IRA or 401(k).

Because you have more than 10 years of rail service, you're "vested" and you will be eligible for benefits at age 62 (or earlier, if you become permanently disabled). If you had less than 10 years of rail service, your rail credits would be transferred to Social Security and combined with credits under that program.

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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