Ask Larry

Can I Collect Reduced Social Security At Age 62 And Then Switch To Full Tier I & II Railroad Retirement Benefits At FRA?

Larry,
I am retired and will turn 62 in Dec. I have 12.5 years of credited service in Railroad Retirement and over 28 years of service in Social Security, thus I am vested in both programs. Am I able to collect from SS at 62 (at the reduced rate) and then switch to RR at the full rate for Tier I & II when I reach the full retirement age (66 & 8 mos)?

Thank you,

Brian

Hi Brian,

My expertise is limited to Social Security (SS) benefits, and not Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits. I know that you could file for reduced Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62 without filing for RR benefits at the same time, but I can't tell you how your RR benefits would be calculated when you eventually claim those benefits. Nor can I tell you whether or not the filing strategy you propose would be advisable.

What I can tell you for sure is that if you file for RR benefits and you're already drawing SS benefits, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will offset your Tier 1 RR benefit dollar for dollar by the amount of your SS benefit. You couldn't start out collecting SS benefits and then stop drawing those benefits and switch to just receiving RR benefits instead. It would probably be advisable for you to discuss your filing options with an RRB employee.

Best, Jerry

Posted: 
Aug 24 2020 - 11:28am
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