Requirements The Employee Must Have Met
The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) can pay a survivor annuity only if the employee:
- was employed in the railroad industry for at least 120 months, or at least 60 months after 1995; and
- had a current connection with the railroad industry; that is, there was no regular employment outside of the railroad industry between the time when the employee left the railroad industry and the time of retirement (or death if the employee never retired).
- If the employee was alive on October 1, 1981, we will consider that there is a current connection with the railroad industry, if the employee:
- stopped working in the railroad industry involuntarily and without cause on or after October 1, 1975; and
- had at least 25 years of service; and
- did not decline an offer to return to work in the same class or craft as his or her last railroad service.
What Happens If the Employee Does Not Meet The Requirements
If the employee does not meet the requirements described in the above section, "Requirements The Employee Must Have Met," the RRB cannot pay a survivor annuity. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) might be able to pay you and we will transfer your application to that agency. Therefore, you should still file an application.
Your annuity can be paid by either the RRB or SSA but not by both, even though the employee may have received payments from both agencies while he or she was alive. No matter which agency pays your annuity, all the employee's work, in the railroad industry or under Social Security, will be used to calculate the amount of your payments.