Can I Draw My Social Security At Age 62 And Switch To A Railroad Divorced Spousal Benefit Later?

Dec 17 2016 - 4:00pm

I will be eligible for a divorced spouse annuity from the railroad retirement board at age 62 (I am currently 55). Can I collect my own social security at age 62 and wait until some later age (say, 70) to stop collecting my social security and start collecting the RRB annuity? (Is this what is meant by file and suspend?) Thank you for your help.

Hi,

To answer your last question first, no that isn't what's meant by file and suspend. File and suspend refers to filing for Social Security benefits at or after full retirement age, but voluntarily suspending receipt of the benefits until a later date in order to accrue delayed retirement credits (DRC).

If you are insured for Social Security benefits on your own record, you can certainly start them at age 62. However, your benefit rate will be reduced by about 30% from your full retirement age rate. You can't then stop your Social Security benefit if you subsequently become eligible for a Railroad Retirement (RRB) benefit, but you could become entitled to higher total benefits.

RRB benefits consist of 2 tiers. Tier 1 is essentially a substitute for Social Security benefits. Tier 2 is like an additional company pension. If you become entitled to RRB benefits after starting your Social Security benefits, RRB will pay you the higher of your Social Security benefit or Tier 1 RRB benefit, plus any tier 2 benefits to which you are entitled.

Best, Jerry