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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits for Railroad Couples

(Posted October 24, 2006)

Question 605: I was hired by a railroad in 1975 and I am currently working. My wife hired by a railroad in 1980. When we retire, do each of us receive a spouse annuity in addition to our retirement benefit? In the event of either of our deaths, does the surviving spouse receive a survivor annuity?

Answer: Each of you will receive a spouse annuity in addition to your retirement annuity. The spouse annuity Tier 1 will be reduced by the retirement annuity, though.

Either you or your wife as a surviving spouse would receive a widow(er)s annuity. Again, the Tier 1 of the widow's annuity would be reduced by the widow's own retirement benefit.

A special rule applies for railroad couples in which one of the spouses first began railroad work before 1975. The Tier 1 reduction the retirement annuity is restored in the spouse's Tier 2.

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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