Monthly Annuities May Be Payable to the Following Annuitants:
1. Eligible Widows and Widowers
- Widow(er) - you are age 60 or over and married to the employee at the time of the employee's death.
- Remarried Widow(er) - you are age 60 or over and you were married to the employee at the time of the employee's death, but you have since remarried.
- Surviving Divorced Spouse - you are age 60 or over. You must have been married to the employee for a period of at least ten years and finally divorced from the employee.
- Disabled Widow(er) – you must be between the age of 50 and 59. You must be the widow(er), including the remarried or divorced annuitant and you must be permanently disabled.
Generally, if you are the widow(er), you must have been married to the employee for at least 9 months prior to the employee’s death. Each of these groups of widow(er) have different requirements concerning marriage to the employee, as well as any remarriages.
2. Young Mother or Father
- You can be any age but must be caring for the deceased employee’s minor child (under age 18) or disabled child (age18 or over and disabled before age 22). If you are the divorced or remarried young mother or father, the child’s age limit is 16.
- You must meet the marriage and child in care requirements.
- The child in care must also be entitled to a child’s annuity.
- You must be the natural child, step-child or adopted child of the deceased employee. To qualify for this type of annuity, you must also be unmarried and under the age of 18.
- Disabled child – you must be a qualified child that is unmarried, over the age of 18 and permanently disabled before the age of 22.
- Grandchild – you must be the unmarried dependent grandchild that meets the requirements for a child’s annuity. The grandchild's parents must be deceased, disabled or meet the allowed exceptions.
- You must be the qualified child of the deceased employee that is unmarried.
- You must be at least age 18 and in full-time attendance at an elementary or secondary school or in approved home-schooling.
- You are only payable until the age of 19 or the end of the school term in progress.
- You must be the parent of the deceased employee and at least 60 years of age.
- You must have been dependent on the employee for at least one half of your support.
Note: If the employee was also survived by a widow(er), surviving divorced spouse, or child who could ever qualify for an annuity, the parent's annuity is limited to payment of tier I only (the amount that social security would pay).
One-Time Death Benefits May be Payable as Follows:
1. Lump Sum Death Payment (LSDP)
A lump-sum death benefit or payment (LSDP) is payable to certain survivors of an employee if there is no survivor immediately eligible for a monthly annuity upon the employee's death.
If the employee did not have 10 years of service before 1975, the lump sum is limited to $255 and is payable only to the widow(er) living in the same household as the employee at the time of the employee's death.
If the employee had less than 10 years of service but had 5 years after 1995, he or she must have met social security's insured status requirements for the lump sum to be payable.
If the employee had 10 years of service before 1975, the lump sum is payable to the living-with widow(er). If there is no such widow(er), the lump sum may be paid to the funeral home or the payer of the funeral expenses.
If a widow(er) is eligible for monthly benefits at the time of the employee's death, but the widow(er) had excess earnings deductions which prevented annuity payments or for any other reason did not receive monthly benefits in the 12-month period beginning with the month of the employee's death totaling at least as much as the lump sum, the difference between the lump-sum benefit and monthly benefits actually paid, if any, is payable in the form of a deferred lump-sum benefit.
2. Residual Lump-Sum Payment
The railroad retirement system also provides, under certain conditions, a residual lump-sum death benefit which ensures that a railroad family receives at least as much in benefits as the employee paid in railroad retirement taxes before 1975. This benefit is, in effect, a refund of an employee's pre-1975 railroad retirement taxes, after subtraction of any benefits previously paid on the basis of the employee's service. This benefit is seldom payable.
For additional information about survivor benefits, refer to RRB publication Railroad Retirement and Survivor Benefits (IB-2).