Injured or disabled employees of a railroad can apply to the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) for disability. The RRB administers the program, and some of the benefits and procedures mirror the Social Security Administration’s disability program and benefits. For railroad employees, there are several benefits that the workers or their dependents should look at in terms of eligibility.

An Age And Service Annuity Can Be Paid To:

Employees with 30 or more years of creditable service. They are eligible for regular annuities based on age and service the first full month they are age 60. Early retirement reductions are applied if the employee first became eligible for a 60/30 annuity July 1, 1984, or later and retired at ages 60 or 61 before 2002.

Employees with 10-29 years of creditable service, or 5-9 years, if at least 5 years were after 1995. They are eligible for regular annuities based on age and service the first full month they are age 62. Early retirement annuity reductions are applied to annuities awarded before full retirement age, which ranges from age 65 for those born before 1938 to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later, the same as under Social Security. Reduced annuities are still payable at age 62, but the maximum reduction will be 30 percent rather than 20 percent by the year 2022. The tier II portion of an annuity is not reduced beyond 20 percent if the employee had any creditable railroad service before August 12, 1983.

An annuity based on age cannot be paid until the employee stops railroad employment, files an application and gives up any rights to return to work for a railroad employer.

A Disability Annuity Can Be Paid For:

  • Total disability, at any age, if an employee is permanently disabled for all regular work and has at least 10 years (120 months) of creditable railroad service. Employees with 5-9 years (60-119 months) of creditable railroad service, if at least 5 years were performed after 1995, may qualify for tier I only (as defined below) before retirement age on the basis of total disability if they also meet certain Social Security earnings requirements. An age reduced tier II amount would be payable at age 62.
  • Occupational disability, at age 60, if an employee has at least 10 years of railroad service or at any age if the employee has at least 20 years (240 months) of service, when the employee is permanently disabled for his or her regular railroad occupation. A “current connection” with the railroad industry is also required for an annuity based on occupational, rather than total, disability.

A 5-month waiting period beginning with the month after the month of the onset of disability is required before any disability annuity payments can begin.

An employee can be in compensated service while filing a disability annuity application as long as the compensated service is not active service and terminates within 90 days from the date of filing. However, in order for a supplemental annuity to be paid by the RRB, or for an eligible spouse to begin receiving annuity payments, a disabled annuitant under full retirement age must relinquish employment rights.

If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, long- or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers’ compensation matter, please contact The Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. Contact us TODAY for help!

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