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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

How to Get Railroad Retirement Benefits

(Posted July 24, 2004)

Question 493: I worked for a railroad from 1971 to 1985 and I have more than 120 months of service, so I know I'm vested. What am I entitled to? How and when can I get it?

Answer: You will be entitled to monthly benefits when you are 62. Those benefits will be reduced if you take them at 62. The reduction will be between 70 and 80 percent your full benefits, depending on the year of birth.

Railroad Retirement benefits consist of two parts: Tier 1 and
Tier 2. Tier 1 is calculated similar to Social Security; it's based on your career earnings under both Social Security and Railroad Retirement. Tier 1 also is reduced by any Social Security benefit you receive.

Tier 2 is similar to a private pension benefit; it's calculated only on your railroad earnings.

To get benefits started you need to file an application with the Railroad Retirement Board and submit proof of your age.

You can file up to 3 months before you want benefits to start.

There is a direct link to the RRB web site at the bottom of this Q&A. Use that to find the RRB District office serving your area.

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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