Can My Wife Receive Both Social Security And Railroad Benefits?

Nov 7 2019 - 9:21am

My wife of 8 years has always been self employed as a hair stylist and will be retiring at the end of 2019 having paid into Social Security for almost 50 years. I had 30 years service with the railroad retiring years ago after being injured on the job receiving a total disability. My wife started her Medicare at age 65 in May of 2019 and continues to work. She plans to apply for her Social Security in May of 2020 at which time she reaches her full Retirement Age of 66 being she was born in 1954. Furthermore, she plans to apply for Railroad Retirement Annuity when I turn 62 years of age in September of 2020 which is the requirement for her to apply for benefits we are told by the Railroad Retirement Board. Can my wife receive both Social Security benefits and railroad retirement benefits upon my turning age 62 years of age?


Your wife couldn't draw both Railroad Retirement (RR) and Social Security (SS) benefits in full. Tier 1 RR benefits are intended as a substitute for SS benefits. So, if a person files for both SS and RR benefits, the Railroad Retirement Board offsets their tier 1 RR benefits dollar for dollar by the amount of their SS benefit.

Therefore, if your wife claims both SS and RR benefits, what she'll be paid is a) the higher of her SS benefit rate or her tier 1 RR benefit rate, plus b) any tier 2 RR benefits for which she qualifies.

Best, Jerry