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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

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."


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.


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