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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

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.


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.


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