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What "Vesting" Means
(Posted November 4, 2004)
Question 527: I worked in the railroad industry for 13 years. What does it mean to be "vested"? Can I get benefits if I'm now disabled?
Answer: The term "vested" means that you have met the minimum service requirement for a pension or annuity. For Railroad Retirement, you need at least 10 years to be vested, or at least 5 years for service after 1995.
Since you have 13 years of rail service, you are vested for Railroad Retirement. You will qualify for a reduced retirement benefit at 62.
In order to qualify for a disability annuity under Railroad Retirement, you must be permanently disabled for all work activity due of a physical or mental condition. If you believe you are, you should contact the nearest district office of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board for assistance in filing for benefits.
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