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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

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.

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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