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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Payment of Former Spouse's Share of Tier 2

(Posted November 30, 2004)

Question 531: As a recent retiree from the railroad, I received a copy of a letter from the Railroad Retirement Board addressed to my ex-wife and her attorney. It stated that if she wanted to claim her share of my Tier 2 benefits, she had 90 days to complete the application or lose the benefits awarded her by the divorce. The money was withheld from my Railroad Retirement and returned to me after 90 days.

Later I received a copy of a second letter sent to her, telling her she can still receive her benefits from the date she applies. I am confused. The first stated she would lose all benefits due her, then the second letter says she can claim from the date she applied. Which one is right?

Answer: I'm confused also!

Your former wife is entitled to 2 different payments from Railroad Retirement. The first is a Divorced Spouse Benefit, which is provided by law to all former spouses who were married for at least 10 years and are not married now. The former spouse has to apply for it when she is within 90 days of age 62.

Your former spouse also must have been awarded a portion of your Tier 2 in the property settlement at the time of your divorce. This benefit is usually payable as soon as your Railroad Retirement begins; no formal application is required.

I would suggest that you contact the local office of the Railroad Retirement Board, and ask for a clarification of the two letters.

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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