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Granting Disability Following On-The-Job Injury
(Posted June 23, 2003)
Question 278: Earlier this year I was injured on my rail job, after having problems with my back for 7 years. My doctor advised me not to work anymore. I have submitted all the forms and evidence needed to support my claim for occupational disability. I have heard that the RRB usually denies occupational disability claims the first time. Is this true?
Answer: Contrary to what you're heard, RRB usually grants occupational disability in a large majority of cases. But your claim is complicated by the circumstances surrounding your injury. In most rail injury situations, the workers file suit against the railroad to recover damanges for their injury.
If you have filed a suit, the RRB normally would be reluctant to rule favorably on your occupational disability claim until after the suit is disposed of. This is to avoid influencing the outcome of the lawsuit. Also, while a suit is pending, the railroad will not furnish any medical evidence of your disability to the RRB nor will it "disqualify" you from further service. Normally an employer disqualification is needed to establish occupational disability.
You can, however, file for Sickness Benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Program, which is also administered by the RRB. If you prevail in your lawsuit, any sickness benefits paid will be deducted from your award.
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