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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

When Military Service Counts As Railroad Service

(Posted May 3, 2003)

Question 251: I have a question about when military service can be included in my railroad service. In the Informational Conference Handbbook published by the Labor Member's Office at the Railroad Retirement Board, it talks about needing railroad service before going into military service. Then it says there are some exceptions to the rules. I'm a Vietnam-era veteran with two years of military service before I started working for a railroad. I only have 8 years of rail credits so if my military counts, I will be vested. Does any exception apply to my situation?

Answer: There are two basic rules for crediting military service as railroad work:

First, the worker must have first worked for a railroad before going into military service. The specific requirement is for rail work in the same or preceeding year.

Second, the military service must have been performed during a creditable period when the United States was either at war or a "national emergency" was declared. During some periods, any active military service is creditable. During others, only involuntary active service is covered.

The exceptions discussed in the book you cited apply to when the military service was performed. There are no exceptions to the first rule that you need railroad service before entering the military.

As a result, your military servce cannot be used to become vested for Railroad Retirement.


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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