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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

What Happens to Your Contribution When You're Not Vested

(Posted November 6, 2000)

Question 68: I worked for the old New York Central for six years. What happens to my contributions? Can I transfer them to my Teachers Retirement Fund or to Social Security?

Answer: Contributions to Railroad Retirement are different from those to a private pension plan or a 401(k) plan. They cannot be refunded or transfered to other retirement plans. But your work credits are transferred to Social Security and combined with any other Social Security credits you've earned.

When you apply for Social Security, be sure to tell SSA that you worked for a railroad so they can contact the RRB and get your work record from them.

A proposal is pending in Congress that would reduce vesting under Railroad Retirement from 10 years to 5 years, but it would not help you because the shorter 5-year requirement would apply only to work performed after 1995.

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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