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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Benefits for Widow(er)s After Death of Rail Worker

(Posted December 31, 2012)

Question 941: Does a surviving spouse get a monthly payment when a rail worker dies? Is it paid regardless of the age of the surviving spouse? How much would it be each month?

Answer: Railroad Retirement does not always pay survivor benefits to eligible family members.

When a rail worker dies, earnings under Railroad Retirement and Social Security are combined, and the Railroad Retirement Board determines whether the RRB or Social Security has responsibility for paying a benefit to eligible survivors.

A spouse can get a benefit at any age if he or she is caring for a minor or disabled child. Otherwise the earliest age for a surviving spouse is 50, if he or she is disabled for any employment; otherwise the earliest age is 60.

The amount paid to the surviving spouse usually is the same as the amount the rail worker was receiving, before any reductions for age and Social Security benefits.

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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