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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

When Tier 2 Payments to a Former Spouse End

(Posted July 26, 2005)

Question 552: If I receive part of my husband's Tier 2 Railroad Retirement under the terms of a divorce decree, would those payments continue as survivor benefits if he were to die before me? Or would payments cease upon his death?

Answer: The portion of your former husband's Tier 2 benefit paid to you under a divorce decree would end with his death. If he died "insured for survivor benefits," you could receive a survivor benefit as a "surviving divorced spouse" at 62 if that benefit were higher than the Social Security benefit you receive.

Under Railroad Retirement, a survivor benefit is paid only if the worker had at least 10 years of service (5 years, after 1995) and a "Current Connection." Otherwise, the worker's railroad credits are sent to Social Security and used in calculating any survivor benefit paid by Social Security.

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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