This is the fifth installment of a six-part blog series focused on the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA). You can read the full series here.
Although Tier I benefits are not divisible, an eligible divorced spouse can receive an annuity similar to the non-divisible Tier I annuity under the RRA. This is in addition to any divisible portion of the employee’s Tier II annuity awarded by way of equitable distribution by Court Order. Unlike an equitable distribution award, which provides the former spouse a share of the employee’s Tier II annuity, the payment of a Tier I type annuity to an eligible divorced spouse does not reduce the amount of the employee’s annuity. This is similar to SSA benefits available to a former spouse where the parties had been married for 10 years or more.
If you or your spouse have been railroad employees and thus may be eligible for a RRA annuity, it is strongly recommended that you speak to a legal professional to ensure that these unique benefits are properly accounted for and distributed incident to a divorce.