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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Increase in Tier 2 Component When a Wife Becomes a Widow

(Posted January 2, 2001; revised January 4, 2000)

Question 82: Does a wife's Tier 2 rate increase when she becomes a widow? What are the percentages that a wife would receive before and after the husband-participant's death?

Answer: A wife/husband eligible for a Spouse Annuity receives 45% of the employee's Tier 2 benefit(in addition to 50% of the employee's Tier 1). A widow(er) receives 50% as the Tier 2 share(in addition to 100% of the employee's Tier 1). If a widow(er) is receiving spouse benefits when the employee dies, the widow(er)'s benefit is guaranteed to be atleast as much as the spouse benefit.

You can find out more information about the calculation of Railroad Retirement benefits by going to the RRB's web site at: (click).

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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