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Rail Worker Has Career Split Between Social Security and Railroad Retirement
(Posted February 2, 2013)
Question 964: I paid into Social Security for over 20 years. Now I work for a railroad and pay Railroad Retirement payroll taxes. If I stay with the railroad for the next 20 years and retire, are my Social Security benefits lost, or do those get converted into Railroad Retirement at some point so I have more years in?
Answer: Railroad Retirement benefits are divided between Tier 1 and Tier 2. Tier 1 is like a Social Security benefit. Your Social Security earnings will be combined with your railroad earnings to determine the amount of your Tier 1 benefit. The Tier 2 benefit is similar to a private pension; it is based only on earnings while a covered railroad worker.
You can apply for a separate Social Security benefit, but your Tier 1 would be reduced by the amount of that benefit, so you might not receive any more in total monthly benefits.
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