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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Coordination with Social Security When Disability Is Involved

(Posted December 20, 1999)

Question 37: My brother worked for the railroad for 22 years, from 1969 to 1991. He lost his job due to automation and went into telemarketing. He's now 51 and unable to work due to disability. What action does he need to take to coordinate any disability benefits from Railroad Retirement and Social Security?

Answer: He needs to file for both Railroad Retirement and Social Security disability benefits. (See Q&A-32 for information about filing for Railroad Retirement Disability benefits.) Once a worker files with both SSA and RRB for disability, the two agencies will coordinate their evidence development and decisions. They will also share information with each other.

Both programs follow the same disability critera for "total and permanent" disabling conditions, so if he qualifies for one he should be eligible for both benefits. Remember, he won't receive full benefits from both, because Railroad Retirement will reduce its payments by the amount of his Social Security. But he will get more in total benefits by filing at both agencies.

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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