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Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman
Filing for Disability Retirement
(Posted October 12, 1999)
Question 32: I'm planning to retire on disability. I have over 21 years of Railroad work. What do I need to do to receive what I'm entitled to under Railroad Retirement?
Answer: You need to file an application for a Disability Annuity with the Railroad Retirement Board, and submit all medical evidence in your possession to support your claimed disability. This usually consists of a report from your own doctors and any other hospital records, test results or X-rays that can document the extent of your impairment.
To be eligible for disability payments, you will need to prove to the RRB that you are unable to work permanently in your regular occupation due to your condition. The RRB may independently develop medical evidence and ask you to go to another doctor whom they select, who will examine you and make a report back to the RRB. The RRB, as part of its claims development, will interview you to assertain how your condition affects your daily activities.
Railroad Retirement actually provides for two types of disability benefits: Occupational, and Total & Permanent. Career workers with 20 years of Rail service like yourself can qualify for Occupational Disability. Those who are age 60 to 64 can qualify with between 10 and 20 years of Rail service.
All other workers have to meet the more stringent "Total & Permanent" requirements. These are similar to those provided by Social Security.
Once all of the medical evidence is developed, a specially trained staff will review the evidence and determine if you meet the qualifications. The RRB may use medical consultants and vocational specialists to help it arrive at a decision.
If you are turned down, you are advised in writing as to the evidence used and the reason(s) you don't qualify. Like all adverse RRB decisions, you can ask for your claim to be reviewed within the prescribed time limits.
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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.
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