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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Disabled Worker With Less Than 10 Years of Service

(Posted July 23, 2003)

Question 289: I'm trying to get disability benefits under SSI (Supplemental Security Income). I worked for Southern Railway for over 13 years but I only have 108 months of creditable rail service. Can I get anything from Railroad Retirement?

Answer: Only if at least 60 months (5 years) of your railroad service were earned after 1995. With 60 or more months after 1995, you would be vested under the recent admendments to the Railroad Retirement program, so you would be eligible for a Tier 1 disability benefit if you are found to be permanently disabled.

Otherwise, you are not vested for Railroad Retirement and your 108 months will be transfered to Social Security, where the Social Security Administration would combine them with your Social Security credits.

You talk about SSI, but you might be eligible for basic Social Security disability benefits as well. The Social Security office can assist you in filing claims under the disability and the SSI programs.

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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