A spouse may qualify for a full spouse annuity, based on having a child of the employee in care. The employee must have attained age 62 (or age 60 with 30 years of service) to qualify the spouse for this annuity. The child must be either:
- under age 18; or,
- age 18 or older with a permanent disability that began before the child attained age 22 that makes the child unable to perform any type of regular employment.
The term "Child-in-Care" includes the railroad employee's unmarried natural child, or unmarried dependent adopted child, stepchild, or, under certain conditions, a grandchild whose parents are deceased or disabled.
A child is in your care if you exercise parental control over, and are responsible for, the welfare and care of the child. If the child is permanently disabled, but mentally competent, he or she is considered to be in your care if you perform personal services for that child. The RRB will make the final determination regarding the personal services you perform and whether or not they constitute the child being in your care.
Divorced Spouse Annuity
There is no provision in the Railroad Retirement Act for a divorced spouse annuity based on having a "Child-in-Care".