Q. My husband, age 56, has worked on the railroad for 29 years and is now on a disability from the railroad. I am working under CSRS and have been a federal employee for 30 years (age 57). Can my husband collect any benefits under CSRS and railroad retirement at the same time? When I retire, are we able to collect half of each others retirement or is it the greater of the two?
A. The only CSRS benefits that are payable to a spouse are survivor benefits. At retirement you would need to elect that benefit and have your annuity reduced to pay for it. If you were to die before him, he would be entitled to 55 percent of the unreduced amount of your annuity. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about benefits under the railroad retirement system. Your husband will need to check with his former employer to determine what benefits might be available to you.