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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
Benefits After Death of Rail Worker
(Posted July 23, 2000)
Question 58: Does Railroad Retirement provide death benefits?
Answer: Yes, the same types as Social Security. There are both monthly benefits and lump sum payments.
There is a special "vesting" requirement for death benefits in addition to 10 years of rail work. The deceased worker also has to have had a "current connection" at death. Most career rail workers satisify this requirement. It's up to the RRB to make this determination and transfer the claim to Social Security if the worker does not have a current connection.
Death benefits, whether paid by Railroad Retirement or by Social Security, are based on combined lifetime earnings under both systems.
Railroad Retirement also has a unique lump sum payment called a Residual Lump Sum, which guarantees the return of approximently the amount of payroll taxes the worker paid between 1937 and 1974. All benefits paid to the worker and the family are deducted to calculate the amount of the residual.
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