Will It Affect My Future Railroad Benefit Rate If I Request Back Pay From Social Security?

Apr 12 2018 - 9:45am

At the age of 66, I filed and suspended with SS in 2016 so that my wife could receive spousal benefits when she turned 66 in November of 2017. I worked for the railroad for 17 years but left in 1995. Since then I have worked outside of the railroad industry and currently I am employed full time. In August of this year I plan on retiring and recently contacted SS to start receiving SS benefits. Since I am 68 I will be receiving an additional amount due to the delayed retirement credits. My question is this: If I request back payment for SS to the date I filed and suspended (i.e. this will result in a lower monthly amount SS will be paying me) will this affect the total monthly amount that I will receive from the Railroad Retirement Board? I plan on waiting until I turn 70 (July 2019) to file for railroad retirement in order to maximize the monthly amount that they calculate.


The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will offset your monthly Tier 1 Railroad (RR) benefit rate dollar for dollar by the monthly amount of your Social Security (SS) benefit. So, it sounds to me like your best strategy for when to start drawing your SS & RR benefits depends on which benefit is higher between SS and your Tier 1 RR.

If your Tier 1 RR benefit rate will be higher than your SS benefit rate even if you waited until age 70 to start drawing SS, then it sounds like you would probably want to claim SS benefits retroactively for as far back as possible. However, that may not be the best choice if your SS at age 70 would be higher than your Tier 1 RR rate.

Our maximization software can help you determine how much your SS benefit rate would be, but the software does not handle RR benefit computations or filing options.

Best, Jerry