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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Work Restrictions for Disabled Workers

(Posted August 20, 2003)

Question 300: Can a person receiving railroad retirement disability benefits work and still receive benefits? Is there a limit to how much they can make?

Answer: A disability annuity is not payable for any month in which the annuitant works for an employer covered under the Railroad Retirement Act.

The annuity is not payable for any month in which the annuitant earns more than $400 in any employment or net self-employment, exclusive of work-related expenses. Withheld payments will be restored if earnings for the year are less than $5,000 after deduction of disability-related work expenses. Otherwise, the annuity is subject to a deduction of one months benefit for each multiple of $400 earned over $4,800 (the last $200 or more of earnings over $4,800 count as $400). Failure to report such earnings could involve a penalty charge.

These disability work restrictions stop once a disabled employee reaches full retirement age. This transition is effective no earlier than full retirement age even if the annuitant had 30 years of service. Earnings deductions continue to apply to a person who works for his or her last pre-retirement nonrailroad employer.

If a disabled employee works before full retirement age, this activity may raise a question about the workers recovery from disability, regardless of the amount of earnings. Consequently, any earnings must be reported promptly to the RRB to avoid the possibility of an overpayment.

(AUTHOR'S NOTE: This Q&A marks another important milestone in this column. Due to the strong interest and involvement of my readers, I have now answered the 300th question. And it only took 9 months to go from number 200 to number 300! Thanks for your continued loyality and support.)

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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