Am I Missing Out On Benefits?

Oct 9 2017 - 4:59pm

My husband worked for the Rairoad for 32 yrs.but passed away before eligible to retire (age 53). This was his only employment and never paid into Social Security. At the time of his passing I was 52 and went to work full time paying into S.S. I had worked some before his death.. My social security wages were strictly my earnings. I took Railroad widows pension at 62 and continued to work until I was 76. I am aware of the double dipping rule but am wondering how or if this affects my retirement as to claiming S.S. also. I have read all the information available on line but am still confused as to if I am missing out on some money that is available to me. I am now 89 yrs. of age.

Hi,

Your Railroad (RR) widow's benefits include both a tier 1 and tier 2 rate. The tier 1 rate is essentially a substitute for Social Security benefits, and you could only receive the higher of a) your tier 1 RR rate, or b) your Social Security benefit rate in addition to your tier 2 RR rate.

So, you would likely only benefit by filing for Social Security if your potential SS rate is higher than your tier 1 RR rate. You will likely want to first check with Social Security to see how much you could receive if you filed for SS benefits, and then check with the Railroad Retirement Board to see if that amount exceeds your tier 1 RR rate.

Best, Jerry