If you are qualified to receive an old age, survivor, or disability insurance benefit from the Social Security Administration (SSA) at the time that you file your railroad retirement application, and you indicate on the application that you want to use your application to protect your filing date for a social security benefit, SSA will get in touch with you and advise you on how to file a social security application.
If you become qualified to receive any social security benefits after you file your application for an annuity with the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), you must contact the SSA office directly to file an application for social security benefits. In either case, SSA will decide if you are entitled to receive benefits and will compute the amount of the benefits which can be paid. However, the actual payment will be made by the RRB and will be combined with your regular monthly railroad retirement payment.
The section "Tier I," explained how your annuity must be adjusted for any social security benefit which you are entitled to receive. In most cases, the total amount which will be paid to you each month by both the RRB and SSA will not change if you file for social security benefits.
Filing for a social security benefit will usually increase the total benefits payable to you only if all of the following situations apply:
- Your social security benefit is larger than the tier I part of your railroad retirement annuity; and
- You do not expect to earn more than the annual earnings exempt amount.
It is important to notify the RRB as soon as you file a social security application for monthly benefits. If you do not notify the RRB, a railroad retirement annuity overpayment may result.