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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Spouse Working for Last Non-Railroad Employer

(Posted August 25, 2009)

Question 722: I returned to work for my last non-railroad employer. I get a 1/2 reduction of Tier 2 benefits. My husband also worked for the railroad. He gets Tier 2 benefits from his railroad work and mine. The Railroad Retirement Board also wants to reduce his benefits by 1/2 the same amount making the total greater than my salary -- greater because of federal tax, social security and medicare reductions. My earnings are never more than $3,000 a year. Is this correct? I have a case pending. I need a lawyer to advise me.

Answer: Your situation is fairly complex involving four separate annuity payments: your employee & spouse annuities, and your husband's employee & spouse annuities. It also involves the application of special work deductions because you have returned to work for your last non-railroad employer.

Based on the information you furnished with your question, it appears that the Railroad Retirement Board is acting correctly in applying Tier 2 work deductions to both you & your husband's benefits.

Before going to the expense of hiring an attorney, you may want to contact a brotherhood official to see if they can represent you with the RRB & ensure that they have handled your claim correctly. You could also ask your Congressman or one of your U.S. Senators to intervene on your behalf if you believe the claim has not been handled correctly.

Of course, you also have the option to stop working for your current employer and find a job that will not cause your Tier 2 benefits to be reduced.

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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