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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

Stop, Look & Listen: Railroad Retirement Benefits Q&A

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Are All Railroads Are Required to Pay Railroad Retirment Taxes and Report Worker Earnings?

(Posted September 23, 2001)

Question 136: I have 118 months of service, so I need only two more months to become vested under Railroad Retirement. I accepted a separation allowance from my railroad employer, under which they agreed to continue to pay into the Railroad Retirement fund so I would be vested. But it's been 30 months now, and they still haven't paid into Railroad Retirement on my behalf!

Answer: All railroads in the United States are required to pay Railroad Retirement taxes and to report their workers' earnings to the Railroad Retirement Board. It's a matter of Federal law, jointly enforced by the Internal Revenue Service and the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).

The only exception is the Alaska Railroad, whose employees are covered under the Federal Civil Service Retirement System because the Alaska RR was owned for many years by the Federal government.

If you believe your former railroad has not properly reported your earnings to the RRB, you should contact the nearest office of the RRB(see Q&A 9 of this column) and ask them to investigate.

If you are not successful in getting your 120 months of credit, you might become vested if certain pending legislation (HR 1140) becomes law later this year. The vesting reqirement will be reduced to 60 months for a worker who had at least 60 months of service after 1995.

Important notice:

Answers are provided as general guidance on the subjects covered in the question and are not provided as legal advice to the questioner or to readers. Any legal issues should be reviewed by your legal counsel to apply the law to the particular facts of this and similar situations.

The law in this area changes frequently. Answers are believed to be correct as of the posting dates shown. The completeness or accuracy of a particular answer may be affected by changes in the law (statutes, regulations, rulings, court decisions, etc.) that occur after the date on which a particular Q&A is posted.

Copyright 1997-2017 Robert S. Kaufman
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