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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Public Pension Offset and Reemployment of Widow

(Posted September 30, 2004)

Question 520: I am a 62 year old widow. If I retire from my public school teaching job, I assume I will get little if any of my husband's Tier 1 Railroad Retirement due to the widow's offset pension. Therefore, I was considering retirement and doing substitute teaching to supplement my income. Will I lose my husband's Tier 2 if I substitute teach for the same school system where I worked prior to retirement? What if I substitute for a private school?

Answer: Your question illustrates many of the complexities of the Railroad Retirement system. Widow(er)s and Spouses are subject to a reduction in their Tier 1 when they receive a pension from a governmental entity. The reduction is equal to 2/3 of their monthly public pension payment.

But only a spouse is subject to a reduction in Tier 2 when he or she works for the same entity after retirement. A widow (or widower) is not subject to the same reduction.

So, as a widow, you can substitute in the same school system and receive your full Tier 2. But your Tier 1 is subject to the regular annual earnings limits for people who have not reached normal retirement age.

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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