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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

What You Should Know Before Divorcing a Rail Worker

(Posted June 17, 2004)

Question 466: I am in the process of getting a divorce. I was married in 1997 and was seperated in 2001. How much am I entitled to? Because we still are not divorced, does the paperwork we will file with RRB show the date of marriage and pay benefits through the date of divorce rather than date of seperation? Is it what he earned while we were married or the entire time he works there? How is the amount of the split decided on?

Answer: There are benefits provided by law for a divorced spouse or widow. The amount does not have anything to do with how long the marriage lasted but the parties have to be married for at least 10 years for those benefits to be payable.

In addition, the Railroad Retirement program recognizes the division of the rail worker's Tier 2 benefit directed by a property settlement in a final divorce decree. The amount of the Tier 2 paid to a divorced spouse is decided by an agreement between the two parties. It might be based upon the duration of the marriage compared to the length worker's railroad career.

Until the divorce is final, you would be entitled to a normal spouse annuity through the month preceeding the month in which the divorce is final.

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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