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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Maximum Benefits Hard to Achieve

(Posted October 4, 2000)

Question 63: What is the maximum amout in retirement benefits that a rail worker can receive with 40 years of service? She retired in 1985 and is now 80 years old.

Answer: The maximum benefit is about $2,500 for a person who retires in 2000 with maximum creditable earnings in every year worked. But that amount is very hard to acheive. A worker who retired 15 years ago would have received a much lower amount even if he or she had maximum earnings up to retirement.

Each year the maximum earnings counted under Railroad Retirement and Social Security increases, but retired workers do not have the opportunity to receive the increased credits. They do get annual cost-of-living adjustments in their payments, however.

In calculating a Railroad Retirement benefit, the average yearly earnings and the total years of service are factors. But the benefit is calculated under very complex and multiple formulas. Each worker get a unique benefit amount based on his or her individual earnings record.

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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