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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Keeping a "Current Connection" After Leaving Rail Work

(Posted May 28, 2005)

Question 549: I hear all kinds of requirments needed to keep a "Current Connection." If I quit rail work at age 52 with 25 years service and do not work anywhere that would break my Current Connection, would I not still be fully covered by Railroad Retirement and able to draw retirement at 62? Or is there an option for drawing retirement benefits earlier?

Answer: You became vested for Railroad Retirement when you completed 10 years of rail service. With less than 30 years of rail service, 62 is the earliest you can receive retirement benefits. If you become disabled before 62, you can apply for disability benefits.

Preserving your "Current Connection" can provide additional security for you and your family. It will make you eligible for an "Occupational" Disability Annuity if you become disabled before 62.

And it will make you entitled to a Supplemental Annuity at 65 in addition to your regular retirement benefits. With 25 years, your Supplemental Annuity will be an extra $23 a month (it could be reduced if you also receive a private pension from your former railroad).

Finally, it guarantees that survivor benfits after your death will be paid by Railroad Retirement.


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.


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