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Benefits When Rail Worker Is Divorced and Remarries
(Posted October 15, 2011)
Question 837: When the Railroad Retirement Board pays benefits to both a former spouse and a current spouse, are their individual benefits affected by the other person's entitlement? Please refer to your answer to Question 633.
Answer: Under Railroad Retirement, the current spouse and the former spouse receive benefits independent of each other.
The current spouse qualifies for benefits after one year of marriage (or nine months, in the case of a widow). The current spouse receives both a Tier 1 and Tier 2 benefit that is based on the rail worker's benefit. The benefits can begin as early as 60 if the rail worker has 30 or more years of service. Otherwise, benefits can begin as early as 62 on a reduced-for-age basis.
The divorced spouse can receive benefits as early as 62 on a reduced-for-age basis. The divorced spouse must have been married to the rail worker for at least 10 years and must not currently be married. The benefit consists only of a Tier 1 benefit; the Tier 2 benefit is not paid unless the final divorce decree provides for payment of a specific amount of the rail worker's Tier 2 as part of the property settlement.
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