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Will A Divorced Spouse Continue to Receive Benefits After Rail Worker's Death?
(Posted May 29, 2012)
Question 877: What happens to a divorced widow or widower who is receiving benefits before the rail worker's death. Does she or he continue to get the benefits and do they increase or decrease?
Answer: To receive monthly survivor benefits from Railroad Retirement, the rail worker must have been "vested" for death benefits with Railroad Retirement. The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) determines if the rail worker has the required rail service and "Current Connection" with the rail industry at death.
If the rail worker meets the vesting requirements, Railroad Retirement has the responsibility for paying benefits to eligible survivors including Divorced Widow(er)s. Otherwise, Social Security will then pay survivor benefits. Those benefits are based on the deceased rail worker's combined earnings under Railroad Retirement and Social Security.
A Divorced Spouse receives half of what the rail worker would have received from Social Security; a Divorced Widow receives approximently what the rail worker would have.
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