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"Last Person" Employment Explained
(Posted December 21, 2012)
Question 937: Why can't a spouse work for their last employer again after beginning their annuity?
Answer: There is also a special earnings restriction applied to Tier 2 if you continue to work for the same employer that you were employed by immediately before you applied to Railroad Retirement. Beginning with the first two dollars of earnings, your Tier 2 is reduced by $1 for each two dollars in earnings. The reduction can not exceed 50% of your Tier 2.
The reason for the restriction goes back to the the beginning of the Railroad Retirement program in 1934. It was during the depression & the original restriction prevented the payment of an annuity for any month in which the annuitant again worked for the last employer before the annuity began. If you had to give up a job it was doubtful that you would be able to find another one & your retirement would open up a job for an unemployed worker. The loss of an entire month was replaced in the 1980's by the current provision which is explained in the first paragraph.
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