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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.
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