You must file an RRA application for a spouse annuity or divorced spouse annuity to receive railroad retirement spouse or divorced spouse benefits.
If you were previously entitled to spouse benefits based on Child-in-Care that terminated when the child attained age 18, you may need to file another spouse annuity application. This application is required to pay spouse benefits based on your age. Please discuss this with an RRB representative.
When you file an application, you may select the day you want your annuity to begin. You have two choices: the earliest date permitted by law, or a later date designated by you that may be to your advantage.
Most applicants select the earliest date permitted by law. This means the RRB will set your annuity beginning date as the very first day it could legally begin. If you choose to select a beginning date yourself, your annuity will begin on that date. However, the date you choose cannot be before the earliest date permitted by law.
Note, if you delay filing for benefits, you may lose benefits for some or all of the period before the month in which you file.