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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Vesting With Less Than 120 months

(Posted May 13, 2004)

Question 451: I was told by the Railroad Retirement Board that my diability benefits would be transferred to Social Security for payment to me. But the Social Security Administration says Railroad Retirement Board will pay my benefits. I only had 66 months of railroad service. Who is correct?

Answer: The usual vesting for Railroad Retirement is 120 months of rail service. But the program was changed in 2001 to allow workers with 60 months of service after 1995 to be vested. So it depends on when you earned the 66 months.

If you are not vested for Railroad Retirement, your 66 months will be transferred to Social Security and combined with your earnings under that program. To qualify for disability benefits under Social Security, you will need to meet the requirements for a "Period of Disability."

Social Security credits are never transferred to Railroad Retirement although the Tier 1 benefit is based on earnings under both programs. If you qualify for a seperate Social Security benefit, that benefit also would be made through Railroad Retirement.

If you want to read about this on the Internet, go on the RRB's web site. There's a direct link below this answer.

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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