Can I Start Drawing Railroad Retirement At Age 68 And Get Higher Social Security Benefits At Age 70?

Mar 10 2017 - 8:15am

Larry, I am 68 years old (10/28/48) Currently working for the railroad, I have been there for the last 7.5 years. I have been told that I can stop working, retire and collect Rail Road Retirement today. Then at 70 switch from RRR Tier one to SS and receive the higher SS benefit. Currently RR Retirement Tier one will pay me approximately $3,000 a month. SS at 70 will pay approximately. $ 3,275. A $ 275 dollar a month difference. If I stop working today and take RR Retirement will I still be eligible for the $ 275 difference that SS offers at 70? I am of the understanding that taking RRR today will not affect my collecting the full SS amount ($3,275) at 70, with the understanding that at the same time I will be forfeiting the $3,000 a month Tier one from RRR. thanks in advance for the help. Best Regards, R McG

Hi R McG,

I have no way of knowing if the benefit amounts that you quote are accurate, but you could potentially draw Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits starting at age 68 and then start drawing Social Security (SS) benefits at age 70. If you did that, your Social Security benefits would replace your Tier 1 RR benefit, assuming that the SS benefit rate is higher (https://www.rrb.gov/opa/qa/pub_1606.asp).

Your Social Security benefit rate would be calculated entirely separately from your RR benefits, and you can accrue delayed retirement credits on your SS from age 66 to age 70 even if you are drawing RR benefits during that time. So, the scenario that you describe in your question is certainly plausible.

Best, Jerry