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Disability Benefits After Leaving Railroad Industry
(Posted January 24, 2003)
Question 210: I had worked for a railroad for over 24 years when I took a voluntary seperation payment (in 1988). I started to teach school and became part of the teachers' retirement system in my state, where school teachers are not covered by Social Security. (In fact, I have never worked in a job covered by the Social Security system.) I am now 57 and disabled. Can I qualify for Railroad Retirement Disability benefits? Will I get both tiers?
Answer: You are vested and you can file for Railroad Retirement based on disability. But you no longer have a "Current Connection" due to your teaching career since you left the railroad. You will, therefore, have to meet the more stringant requirements for a "total and permanent disability," which are the same as would be required for a Disabilty Insurance Benefit under Social Security.
If the Railroad Retirment Board finds you disabled and eligible for a disability annuity, you will receive both a Tier 1 and a Tier 2 benefit.
Because you have never worked under Social Security, RRB-- not the Social Security Administration-- will pay survivor benefits after your death. This is because of a special provision of the law which allows the RRB to pay survivor benefits in your case even though you do not have a "Current Connection."
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