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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

60/30 Retiree With School Teacher Spouse

(Posted October 26, 2006)

Question 606: I retired with full Railroad Retirement benefits at age 60 with over 30 years of service. My wife will be 60 next year.

Will she be eligible for Tier 2 benefits when she reaches age 60, or does she have to wait until later? She currently receives a teacher's pension so she probably won't be eligible for Tier 1 benefits from my retirement.

Answer: Your wife will be eligible for a Spouse Annutiy when she reaches 60. You indicated that her own teacher's pension is large enough that she will not receive a Tier 1. (The Tier 1 of a Spouse Annuity is reduced by 2/3 of a public pension that the spouse receives.)

She will, however, receive a full Tier 2 at 60. She should contact the Railroad Retirement Board three months before her 60th birthday to file an application. She will need her birth certificate and your marriage certificate.

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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