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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Impact of Divorce on Railroad Retirement Benefits

(Posted May 7, 2001)

Question 97: My brother-in-law receives a Railroad Retirment benefit. He is in the process of a divorce and wants to learn how a divorce will affect his payments. How can he get the phone number of the local RRB office?

Answer: Railroad Retirement benefits are divided into seperate parts, called "Tiers." Tier 1 is similar to a Social Security benefit. By Federal law it cannot be divided in a property settlement. But once the divorce is final, a former spouse can receive his or her own Tier 1 benefit if the marriage lasted for at least 20 years.

Tier 2 is like a private pension; it can be divided (or "partitioned") as part of a divorce settlement. So your brother-in-law may lose a portion of his current benefit. I would strongly recommend that he hire an attorney who is experienced in defending parties with rights to a pension.

To get the telephone number of the local RRB office using the Web, please see Q&A-9 of this column (click).

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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