Can I Fight This And Win?

Feb 14 2020 - 10:17am

I received an upfront payment from social security because when I filed they asked if I would like to receive back pay in leiyof an extra $35or $40 a month..and I did the calculations and said yes. Well after 5 months of fighting with them and no figures presented on paper, they finally gave me my money. They then told me as I was walking out the door I have to pay RRB back the monies I was receiving from them up until this time..it was labout 16 months of payments. I knew I had to quit receiving RRB retirement once I started receiving SS, but had no idea this would have been back dated too. If I had known that I wouldn't have done it as it was the same amount extra I received from S S. And now I have also lost the monthly amount of an extra $40 on my SS. It really feels like a scam from S S and they say I have to pay RRB back, which I don't think is fair to them either. Can I fight this and win?

Hi,

I don't know enough details about your circumstances to be able to give you much advice. What I can tell you is that if you're receiving Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits and you file for Social Security (SS) benefits, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) would reduce your Tier 1 RR benefits dollar for dollar by the amount of your SS benefit. Therefore, it's generally only advantageous to apply for SS benefits in that situation if the SS amount is higher than the Tier 1 RR amount.

You could probably appeal RRB's determination, but I'm not sure what you'd be appealing exactly. If you applied for your Social Security benefits within the last 12 months you could withdraw your claim, but any SS benefits that you've been paid would then have to be refunded to SS. Presumably, though, if your SS benefits simply offset your Tier 1 RR benefits by the same amount, then the refund of SS benefits could be covered by the Tier 1 amount you'd be due. As I said, though, I don't have enough details about your situation to be able to properly advise you, so you should probably discuss your options with RRB.

Best, Jerry