Information concerning your marriage history is requested on your employee annuity application to determine the possible eligibility of any spouse or divorced spouse on your earnings record. If you are married when you apply for benefits, be sure to ask the RRB representative whether your spouse is eligible for an annuity. If you are, or your spouse is, too young to qualify your spouse for benefits at that time, ask when your spouse will become eligible. Your spouse or divorced spouse is required to file a separate application to receive benefits on your earnings record. The eligibility requirements are explained in booklet RB-30, "Spouse/Divorced Spouse Annuity".
You may also be eligible for an increase in your annuity called the Special Guaranty computation, if members of your family meet the requirements under Social Security (SS) Act rules using your railroad service as if it had been covered under the SS Act. In most cases, your regular railroad retirement annuity rate will exceed the amount that the Social Security Administration (SSA) would have paid. Therefore, your annuity application asks only for basic information, such as the number of children you have who would qualify under this provision. The term child includes your unmarried natural child, or dependent and unmarried adopted child, stepchild, or, under certain conditions, your grandchild if both parents are deceased or disabled.
Your child may be included in the Special Guaranty computation if the child is:
- under age 18;
- 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; or,
- age 18-19 and in full-time attendance at an elementary or secondary school.
The RRB field office where you file your application will test your annuity rate to determine if the Special Guaranty could apply. If it could apply, our field office will contact you for further information. For more information on the Special Guaranty computation, read booklet G-179, "Special Guaranty in Employee and Spouse Annuities".