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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Fairness of New 5-Year Vesting

(Posted March 26, 2003)

Question 230: The new 5-year vesting requirement applies only to service after 1995. Is this fair to older workers?

Answer: There always is a cutoff point, when retirement benfits are extended to workers who previously were not eligible.

With 5-year vesting, Congress chose to limit the new rule to rail workers who earn 5 or more years of service credits after 1995.

This was consistent with other liberalizations introduced since the Railroad Retirement program's inception in the mid-1930's. In fact, the original program used the enactment date of August 29, 1935 as the cutoff date; workers who had left the rail industry before that date & who had severed all employment rights were not included in the new Railroad Retirement program.

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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