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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Going Back to Railroad Employment After Retiring

(Posted May 22, 2005)

Question 546: I have been offered employment with a short line nonunion railroad that does not pay into Railroad Retirement. Can I accept this job without losing any of my Railroad Retirement benefits? My earnings will not exceed $12,000 in 2005.

Answer: Be very careful before you begin working again for a railroad. The penalty for returning to rail work for a railroad covered by the railroad Retirement System is loss of your entire annuity any month you work in rail employment, regardless of the amount that you earn.

You need to check your planned employment with the Railroad Retirement Board. I caution you to do this as soon as possible to prevent you from needlessly losing any benefits.

Most every railroad within the United States is covered by Railroad Retirement. There are exceptions such as the Alaska Railroad & the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, which is a tourist railroad operating in Colorado.

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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