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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

How Benefits Can Change Upon Divorce

(Posted February 24, 2012)

Question 856: In a divorce, a rail worker's spouse the Spouse Benefit that equals 45% of the rail workers's Tier 2 benefit. Yet the divorce decree can give a portion of the rail worker's Tier 2 benefit to the divorced spouse, resulting in a lower pension for the rail worker. Am I correct?

Answer: Yes.

In the 1980's several cases involving the treatment of pensions and other retirement benefits in a divorce were decided. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that certain retirement benefits including Tier 2 are considered joint property of both parties and can be divided in a 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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