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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Social Security Credits Never Count as Railroad Service

(Posted December 9, 2000)

Question 80: I have paid into Social Security for the past 20 years. Before that, I worked for a railroad for seven years. If I go back to a railroad and get at least 3 more years of credits, I will be vested for Railroad Retirement benefits. Will the last 20 years of my Social Security credits then be used by Railroad Retirement in the same way as actual railroad credits are, to produce a higher Railroad Retirement benefit? In other words, will my Social Security credits be used to figure my Tier 2 component?

Answer: Railroad Retirement uses both railroad work and social security work to figure a Tier 1 (Social Security level) component. But only actual railroad work credits are used to calculate a Tier 2 (Rail Industry level) component. So your 20 years of Social Security crdits would be used only to figure your Tier 1 amount. Remember that the Tier 1 amount is reduced for any seperate Social Security benefit you are entitled to.

As a side note, if you get 10 years of Railroad Service after you start to receive Social Security, your Social Security would be recomputed and likely would be reduced, because they would remove any railroad credits for their calculations.

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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