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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Disability Benefits After Age 60

(Posted July 23, 2000)

Question 57: I'm 60-1/2 and have 31 years of railroad service. I injured my back last October and haven't been able to work since then. Will I have any problems getting disability? Also, my wife is over 60 and doesn't work. Can she she receive a wife's benefit now?

Answer: Being over 60 with 30 years of service puts you in an excellent position. If you believe you're unable to work in your regular railroad job, you should apply for a disability annuity. You appear eligible for an "occupational disability annuity" and would only have to be found to be unable to work in your regular railroad job and not disabled for all types of work.

If the RRB finds you are not disabled, you might consider filing for a 60/30 retirement annuity. Currently, your retirement benefits would be reduced because you are not 62. But there is legislation now pending in the House of Repersentatives (HR 4844) which would eliminate the reduction.

Your wife is eligible for a wife's benefit regardless of whether you are awarded disability or retirement benefits. She should file when you apply for disability benefits. She needs to submit her birth certificate and marriage certificate. Again, her benefits would be reduced because she is not yet 62, unless H.R. 4844 becomes law.

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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