Ask Larry

How Can I Verify What I Was Told When I Applied For Railroad Retirement?

When I applied for Railroad retirement, I was told that if SS was more that i should apply for that instead of RR. I asked the question as to why I couldn’t collect both and got the impression that both railroad retirement and social security should be combined and I don’t believe that they were. How can I verify this

Hi. I'll start by explaining that my expertise is limited to Social Security (SS) benefits, not Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits. What I can tell you about RR benefits is that if you're collecting SS benefits, the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) offsets your Tier 1 RR benefit dollar for dollar by the amount of your Social Security benefit. This is confirmed on the following page from RRB's website:

My understanding is that Tier 1 of RR benefits is intended more or less as a substitute for Social Security, and a person's Social Security earnings are used when calculating the Tier 1 benefit rate. So, without the offset, a person could potentially be paid double benefits based on the same earnings.

Best, Jerry

Jan 8 2022 - 12:01pm
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