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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Spouse Benefit

(Posted February 24, 2012)

Question 855: I have worked for the railroad for 34 years. Because of the way the RRB calculates benefits, I probably will work 9 more years.

I am unmarried, so I receive no Spouse Benefit even though my donation to the system has been very high for very long. I think this is a complete discrimination against singles, who should recover at least some portion of a Spouse Benefit because we certainly pay for it. It amounts to over $2,000 dollars a month that my household does not collect merely because I am single.

Answer: Railroad Retirement and Social Security both have provided a Spouse Benefit since 1951. Today, most spouses work and have their own Social Security benefit when they retire. Both Railroad Retirement and Social Security deduct that benefit from the amount the individual would be eligible to receive as his or her Spouse Benefit.

Currently the Spouse Benefit is provided by law. If you feel strongly about eliminating it, you should contact your Congressional Representative and your state's U.S. Senators about changing the Railroad Retirement program.


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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