Would My Social Security Benefits Stop When I Start Drawing Railroad Retirement?

Mar 24 2017 - 7:00am

I am vested in social security, railroad retirement and Cal PERS, having worked different jobs. I would like to start collecting SS next year (turning 62), and then when I turn 66 and 4 months start collecting my maximum benefit from RR retirement. Would SS stop when I start collecting RR retirement? Will collecting SS at 62 reduce my max RR retirement benefit? Do you have any special advice for me or recommendation of who I need to talk with concerning this? THANKS.


Your Social Security (SS) wouldn't stop if you subsequently apply for Railroad Retirement (RR) benefits. However, you will only receive the higher of a) your Social Security benefit, or b) your Tier 1 Railroad benefit, plus any Tier 2 Railroad benefits to which you are entitled (https://www.rrb.gov/opa/qa/pub_1606.asp). As far as I know, collecting SS benefits at 62 would not otherwise affect your RR pension, but I'm not an expert on Railroad Retirement.

If your earnings on which your Cal PERS pension is based were exempt from SS & RR taxes, receipt of the Cal PERS pension may reduce both your Social Security retirement and Tier 1 RR pensions (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10045.pdf). I don't know of anyone to refer you to for overall advice, other than possibly a knowledgeable RR Board employee who may be able to sort everything out for you.

Best, Jerry