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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Possibility of Two Different Benefits for Railroad Worker's Ex-Spouse

(Posted September 26, 2006)

Question 601: I was awarded one third of my ex-railroad husband's retirement (Tier 2) pension back in the 1980's. I'm nearing my retirement age and I wonder if I'm eligible to receive any other benefits. I have remarried.

Answer: There are two different ways that a former husband or wife can receive benefits from Railroad Retirement. The first type is provided by law; it's called a Divorced Spouse Annuity. If the parties were married for at least 10 years, it first becomes payable when the spouse reaches 62. You are correct that the remarriage of the spouse ends the entitlement to a Divorced Spouse Annuity. The spouse may reestablish entitlement if the second marriage ends.

The second way to receive a benefit is if the two parties agree to divide the rail worker's Tier 2 as part of the property settlement in a divorce. This benefit would become payable to the former spouse when the rail worker begins to receive Railroad Retirement. The spouse's remarriage would not affect the entitlement to receive payments.

It appears you would qualify under the second way. You should contact the nearest District Office of the Railroad Retirement Board for further information and guidance. You can find the office serving your area by going to the following web site:

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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