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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

How Will My Texas Teacher's Pension Affect a Spouse Annuity from Railroad Retirement?

(Posted June 25, 2009)

Question 711: I am a teacher in Texas. I recently returned to teaching after cashing in my pension credits. I now have three years of new pension credits. I will soon have enough to again be vested for a teacher's pension when I retire. I want to receive a spouse annuity from Railroad Retirement when my husband retires. If I take my pension contributions as a lump sum refund instead of receiving a monthly pension, will that affect my spouse annuity? If I elect to receive a monthly teacher's pension instead of taking a lump sum refund, and it is less than my spouse annuity, will Railroad Retirement pay me the difference as if my teacher's pension is like a Social Security benefit?

Answer: In framing my answer, I am assuming that in Texas, teachers are not covered by Social Security. Your spouse annuity would therefore be subject to the "Public Pension Offset" provisions of Social Security and Railroad Retirement.

If you receive a monthly teacher's pension, Tier 1 of your Spouse Annuity would be reduced by 2/3 of your teacher's pension. You would however receive the balance of Tier 1 plus all of your Tier 2.

If you decide to take your teacher's pension contributions as a lump sum and forfeit your rights to a monthly teacher's pension, there would be no effect on your spouse annuity from Railroad Retirement.


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.


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