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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Two Former Spouses Can Receive Benefits

(Posted October 15, 2007)

Question 638: My husband is retired after working for the railroad 43 years.
If we divorce, will my monthly retirement check be reduced?

His first wife also draws benefits on his claim. I get more per month than she does. I have been told my check will be reduced to the same amount she is getting. Is this true?

Answer: If you divorce your husband, you will be eligible for a "Divorced Spouse Annuity" if your marriage has lasted for at least 10 years. That benefit is less than your current benefit because you will lose the Tier 2 amount you are currently receiving. If his first wife is receiving benefits as a divorced spouse, your benefits will be in the same amount.

If you divorce, you should notify the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board as soon as the divorce is final, so they can adjust your payment in a timely manner and thereby avoid making overpayments to you.

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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