When you are ready to retire, contact your RRB field office to file your spouse annuity application. Our goal is to process your application as quickly as possible. Claims for some benefits may take longer to handle than others if they are more complex, or if we have to get information from other people or organizations. If this happens, we will give you an explanation and an estimate of the time required to make a decision.
Sometimes we will not be able to make a decision on your application for benefits without some additional information from you. If so, we will contact you by telephone or mail and ask you to send us the required forms, proofs, or statements.
If you do not receive a notice that additional information is needed, you should receive the decision on your annuity application as follows.
Advance Filing Cases
When you file up to three months before the earliest date your spouse annuity or divorced spouse annuity can begin, you should receive your annuity award letter and first payment within 35 days of the date your annuity can begin. However, note that no payment is due until the first day of the month after the first month of annuity entitlement, as explained in the following section.
Other Than Advance Filing Cases
If you do not file your application in advance of the earliest date on which your annuity can begin, you should receive your annuity award letter and first payment within 65 days from the date you file your application.
If you cannot be paid an annuity, the RRB will send you a decision within 35 days of the beginning date you requested, if you filed in advance, or within 65 days of the date you filed, if you did not file in advance, explaining why you cannot be paid and what you can do if you disagree with the reason you cannot be paid. If you think we made the wrong decision about your benefits, you have the right to ask for a review and to appeal within the required time limit shown in the denial letter.