Ask Larry

Shouldn't My Brother Be Able To Draw Both Railroad Retirement And Social Security?

My brother worked for the railroad for 15 years ,easily long enough to vest. Then worked ,and paid into social security for 33 years . shouldn't he be able to draw from ssa and railroad at the same time?


Yes, and he can do so except that he can't be paid both his full Tier 1 Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits and his Social Security benefits. Tier 1 RR benefits are intended to be a substitute for Social Security benefits, and are calculated using the person's Social Security covered earnings. Thus, paying a person their full Tier 1 RR benefit in addition to their Social Security benefits would essentially amount to double dipping.

If your brother files for both Social Security benefits and for RR benefits, he will be paid his full Tier 2 RR benefits plus the higher of his Social Security benefit rate or his Tier 1 RR rate. The methodology used to calculate Tier 1 RR benefits sometimes varies from the formula used by Social Security, so your brother will likely want to check with both agencies to see if it would be advantageous for him to apply for Social Security benefits.

Best, Jerry

May 24 2019 - 1:27pm
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