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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Length of Marriage Requirement Differs for Spouse and Widow(er)'s Annuity

(Posted May 27, 2006)

Question 580: How long does a recent spouse have to be married in order to qualify for benefits from Railroad Retirement? We are both 63. I am receiving Railroad Retirement benefits and she is receiving Social Security benefits.

Answer: The length of marriage requirements are different for a spouse of a living rail worker and for a widow or a widower.

A spouse has to be married for at least one year; a widow or widower has to have been married to the rail worker for at least nine months. These requirements are waived if the wife or husband is the natural parent of a child of the rail worker or if the wife or husband was receiving benefits as a spouse or widow(er) in the month before marriage.

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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