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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: http://www.rrb.gov
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