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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Working After Retirement-- Effect on Survivor Benefits

(Posted February 22, 2001)

Question 84: I'm retired from the railroad. Please explain what would happen to my wife's survivor benefit if I returned to work for a consulting engineering firm whose two major clients are railroads. Would her widow's benefit be reduced in the event of my death?

Answer: There should be no adverse affect on your wife's survivor benefit in the the event of your death. I assume you had a "current connection" when you retired so the Railroad Retirement Board (not the Social Security Administration) would be responsible for paying a widow's benefit to your wife. Once an employee is awarded an annuity under Railroad Retirement and the employee has the required "current connection" at retirement, post-retirement employment will not change that determination.

But because you might work for a consulting company doing major business with railroads, you should check with the Railroad Retirement Board to verify that your work is not considered a return to a railroad. The penality for doing railroad work after retirement is severe, with the complete loss of your retirement benefit in any month you work-- even one hour! So it's best to get the "OK" from the RRB before starting work.

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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