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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).
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