Ask Larry

Can My Railroad Earnings Be Used To Calculate My Social Security Benefit?

I worked under RRB for a short period of time in 1985 and 1986 and am retired on Social Security. According to the Certificate of Service Months and Compensation forms I recently found I have 14 months and $18, 509.48 Total creditable compensation. Can this be used for Social Security wages or retirement wages.


Since you didn't work in the railroad industry long enough to qualify for a Railroad Retirement (RR) pension, your railroad earnings can be used by Social Security to calculate your Social Security (SS) retirement benefit rate. The transfer of RR credits to Social Security is automatic in such cases, though, and since you're already drawing your SS retirement benefit it's virtually certain that Social Security has already considered your railroad earnings when calculating your benefit rate.

Your SS retirement benefit rate is calculated based on an average of the highest 35 years of your wage-indexed earnings (, so your railroad earnings would only have made a difference in your SS benefit rate if the years that you worked in the railroad industry were among your highest 35 years of wage-indexed earnings.

Best, Jerry

Dec 29 2018 - 12:27pm
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