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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Duration of Retirement Benefits

(Posted April 4, 2008)

Question 658: How long can I receive retirement benefits? Is there a
break-even age, like Social Security has?

Answer: Once you are awarded retirement benefits, they will continue as long as you live.

You also asked about a "break even" point. I assume you are asking, "If I take a reduced benefit at 62 (which may only be 70% of the full rate) rather than waiting for a full benefit when I reach normal retirement age, is there a point when I will receive less in total lifetime benefits?"

In giving advice to people reaching retirement age for a reduced benefit, I always advise that if you don't plan to work once you start to receive benefits, you should start the benefit at the earliest point. No one has a crystal ball to see their mortality. But it is true that if you live long enough, you might receive less than waiting 3 to 5 years for a full benefit.

According to the latest life expectancy data published by the Railroad Retirement Board, a male at age 62 will live, on average. to 81 and, at age 65, to 81-1/2. A woman at age 62 will live, on average, to 84-1/3 years, and, at age 65, to almost 85 years.

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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