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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
(Posted April 14, 2003)
Question 243: I've worked for the railroad from August 1998 until I became disabled and left earlier this month (April 2003). I was injured on the job in October 2002. What benefits can I get from the Railroad Retirement Board?
Answer: You question raises many issues. First, you can draw Railroad Retirement Sickness Benefits for up to 26 weeks. These benefits are provided by the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Program, which is administered by the RRB.
The way I count your service, you have 57 months; that's 3 months short of the new 5-year vesting rule. If you receive a settlement from the railroad because of your job-related injury, you can have part of that allocated to "pay for time lost" and receive the additional 3 months needed for vesting. You then can file for a disability annuity and should be entitled to a new 5-year vesting disability annuity that will pay you a Tier 1 benefit but not a Tier 2 benefit.
If you receive a settlement from the railroad or if you receive a disability annuity, some or all of your Sickness Benefits will be deducted from those payments.
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