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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Disabled Former Rail Worker with Federal Civil Service and Social Security Benefits

(Posted August 25, 2004)

Question 507: I am a 60-year-old male with over 20 years of railroad employment. I have a Current Connection. Currently I em employed by a federal agency; I already have 10 years of service under the Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS). My personal physician recently said I should contemplate filing for a disability pension, due to several permanent changes in my health. Could I be eligible for a FERS disability pension as well as a disability annuity from the Railroad Retirement?

Answer: You appear to met the service requirements for 3 different disability benefits: Railroad Retirement, FERS and Social Security. Each of the programs has its own criteria and procedures for granting a disability benefit. There is some coordination between Railroad Retirement and Social Security.

The most stringent requirement probably applies under Social Security; a disability benefit is not granted unless the disability prevents you from working in any job.

Because you have a Current Connection under Railroad Retirement, you could apply for an Occupational Disability. The critera for FERS is essentally the same, i.e. you cannot work any longer in your regular job.

Because you currently work for the federal government, you should start by applying for FERS. Your agency's Human Resources office should help you to apply and to secure the medical evidence you need to support your claim. Follow their advice about applying for Social Security.

As soon as you file for Social Security, you should apply at Railroad Retirement too.

You will need to apply with each agency seperately.

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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