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When Is the "J" Prefix Used by Railroad Retirement?
(Posted May 31, 2007)
Question 626: Some railroad retirees have a retiree number that has a "J" prefix. What does the J prefix mean?
Answer: The "J" prefix is used by Railroad Retirement to denote a Joint & Survivor Option Annuity.
Joint & Survivor options were popular in the 1930s & early 1940s as a way for a rail worker to give his spouse a survivor benefit. The two spouses would agree to a permanent reduction in the retirement annuity during the life of the rail worker but the benefit would continue to be paid to the spouse after the rail worker's death.
When a separate survivor benefit was implemented in 1946, the joint & survivor benefit lost popularity.
Some spouses receiving survivor annuity payments perhaps are reaching age 100 by now!
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