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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits For Disabled Widow

(Posted August 26, 2004)

Question 509: I became disabled shortly after my railroader husband's death in 1993. I became very ill afterwards. Am I eligible for Railroad Retirement?

Answer: Because you didn't provide your age or how much railroad service your late husband had, I can only gove you a general answer to your questions.

Railroad Retirement does provide benefits for Disabled Widows who are between 50 and 59 years old. To be eligible, you would need to be disabled from any employment and your late husband would need to have had at least 10 years of rail service (or 5 years performed after 1995). If you think you might meet those criteria, you should contact the nearest office of the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) and ask for their assistance in filing for a Disabled widow's Annuity. You can find the location and phone number of the nearest RRB office by clicking on the direct link at the bottom of this Q&A.

If you have enough credits under Social Security, you also might qualify for disability benefits based on your own work record.
You can get more information by going to the SSA web site at

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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