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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Prefixes To Railroad Retirement Claim Numbers

(Posted May 28, 2003)

Question 260: Can you explain the meaning of the different letter prefixes used with Railroad Retirement claim numbers? Are they used on Medicare cards, too?

Answer: The Railroad Retirement Board puts prefixes onto claim numbers. This is opposite from the Social Security Administration, which attaches suffixes at the end of the primary wage earner's Social Security account number to identify specific beneficiaries eligible for benefits under that number. Yes, the same RRB prefixes are used on Medicare cards issued by the RRB.

Example of Railroad Retirement Claim Number:

A-000-00-0000

Example of Social Security Claim Number:

000-00-0000-A

Here's how Railroad Retirement uses letter prefixes. Every claim number begins with either the letter "A" or "D". "A" means that the rail worker filed an application for disability or retirement. "D" means the rail worker is deceased and that he or she never filed an application before death.

In front of the "A" there might be letter "M", which means the beneficiary is the spouse of a living rail worker. If the rail worker dies, the "M" is changed to "W", for widow(er).

A "W" in front of "A" or "D" means the beneficiary is a
widow(er).

A "P" in front of "A" or "D" means the beneficiary is an eligible parent.

A "WC" in front of "A" or "D" means the survivor claim includes minor or disabled children.

Railroad Retirement began to use the rail worker's Social Security Account number as the claim number on April 1, 1964. Before then, it used three serial number series, "A", "D" and "H"-- "A" and "D" are explained above; "H" indicates a former railroad pensioner's claim that was assumed by the Railroad Retirement Board in 1937.


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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