If you are entitled to Social Security (SS) benefits based on any wage record, your spouse annuity tier I component or your divorced spouse annuity will be offset for those SS benefits (before any withholding under the SS Act for your earnings over the Annual Earnings Exempt Amount). This is why your SS benefits are certified to the RRB for payment. If you have already filed for your SS benefits, it is important to include the SS benefit information on your annuity application. This will help to prevent an overpayment of your annuity.
Annuity Based on at Least 120 Months of Railroad Service
Your railroad retirement application may be used to protect your filing date for SS benefits if you have not yet filed at the Social Security Administration (SSA) and will be entitled to the SS benefits within three months. This means the date you file your railroad retirement application can be used as the date you file for SS benefits. If you want to use your railroad retirement application to protect your filing date, the RRB representative will prepare Form RR-8 "Notice of Protection of Filing Date for Social Security Benefits" and send a copy to your local SSA office. The SSA office will contact you to secure an application for SS benefits.
Your railroad retirement application may protect your filing date, but it is not an application for SS benefits. You must file a separate application for those benefits at SSA.
In many cases, filing for SS benefits will not affect your total benefit rate, because of the deduction in your annuity. It is usually not to your advantage to apply for benefits at both agencies. It is a good idea to discuss this matter with an RRB representative before deciding to file for SS benefits. Contact your local RRB office for information about your situation before filing at SSA.
Annuity Based on 60-119 Months of Railroad Service with at least 60 months of Railroad Service After 1995
Your railroad retirement application is also deemed to be an application for any SS benefits that you may be entitled to on the employee's earnings record or your own earnings record.