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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Qualifying for Widow(er)s Benefits

(Posted October 3, 2006)

Question 603: My daughter's husband was a rail worker. He died last year. Their child is now entitled to Railroad Retirement. Is my daughter also entitled to a seperate benefit as a widow? If so, for how long? How about widows who do not have young children?

Answer: As a widow of a rail worker, your daughter can receive a monthly widow's benefit because she is caring for a child under 18. Her benefits might be reduced if she is working and earns more than $12,480 in 2006. That limit will increase for 2007.

She will need to file a separate application with the Railroad Retirement Board. Her benefits will continue until the child is 18 unless she remarries before then. They will then resume at age 60 if she is still unmarried.

A widow without a child under 18 will receive a widow's benefit when she reaches 60 (50 if she is permanently disabled). The benefits are reduced for age or if the widow is also entitled to Social Security.

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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