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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Wife, Age 58, Has Husband In Failing Health

(Posted September 9, 2010)

Question 769: I am 58 years old. My husband has been retired from the railroad for a couple of years now. His health is failing. If he passes away, would I have to wait until I am 60 to receive Railroad Retirement payments? Would the amount be the same as he receives, or would it be less?

Answer: If your husband were to die before you reach 60, you would have to wait until you are 60 to receive a widow's annuity unless you are disabled from all work.

The amount you receive at 60 would be based on your husband's current rate but it would be reduced because your benefit started before you reach your full retirement age (66, in your case). If you take a reduced benefit at 62, your benefits will not increase at 66 when you reach your full retirement age.

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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