My husband is a railroad retiree and receives Tier I and II benefits. I am a retiree who never worked for the railroad but for some reason my Social Security is being paid through the RRB. Can you tell me where in either law or regulation, this is covered? I am also interested to know what will happen upon my husband's death to his Tier I benefit. Will I be eligible for that or a portion of that or only Tier II? Is that because RRB is paying my Social Security? Would it be different if my retirement was being paid by Social Security instead of the RRB? Thank you.
Hi. When a person applies for Social Security benefits and if either they or their spouse is potentially eligible for Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits, then Social Security first certifies the person's benefits to the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The RRB then certifies the person's Social Security benefit to the U.S. Treasury for payment. This is called 'railroad certification', and it's done so that the RRB has information that they need in order to determine what if any additional RR benefits the person is eligible for. The railroad certification process was established by Congress in the Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 (https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/poms.nsf/lnx/0302809001).
My expertise is limited to Social Security benefits, not RR benefits. Therefore, I don't know what benefits you may be eligible for from Railroad Retirement in the event of your husband's death.