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Husband and Wife Are Both Rail Workers
(Posted December 2, 2004)
Question 532: I'm a retired railroad worker; my wife is working for a short line railroad. She needs to complete 2 more years to draw railroad retirement. I had 34 years. My understanding is that when my wife retires she will receive 50% of my Tier 1 and 45% of my Tier 2. Will she be able to draw her own retirement based on what she has paid in? If so, would I receive a portion of her retirement, as she would mine?
Answer: Because you started railroad employment before 1975, you and your wife both should be able to draw a Spouse annuity, with no reduction for your own employee annuity. But it will change the division between Tier 1 and Tier 2 under the Spouse annuity. This is because the Tier 1 will be reduced for an employee annuity but the reduction amount will be restored in the Tier 2.
By the way, for service after 1995, only 5 years (60 months) is required for vesting, not 10 years (120 months). So your wife already should be vested.
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