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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

When Disability Becomes Regular Retirement

(Posted June 22, 2005(Revised June 23, 2005))

Question 550: I have been on Occupational Disability since 1993. I have 26 years of service on the railroad. When will my benefit change to regular retirement? Will the change from disability to regular retirement include a $400 increase?

Answer: Your disability benefit will convert automatically to a regular retirement benefit when you reach your "Regular Retirement Age." That used to be the month in which you turned 65. But for people born after 1937 the Regular Retirement Age depends on the person's year of birth. For example, the Regular Retirement Age for people born in 1938 is 65 and 2 months. It slowly goes up to age 67 for people born after 1960.

Check with the Railroad Retirement Board's web site at to find out when yours is.

There is no increase in benefits when your benefit becomes a regular retirement benefit. Both disability & retirement benefits are calculated in the exact same way. Taking disability usually yields a lower benefit than if you continued working at the railroad. This is because you have less service & lower earnings than if you stayed in the railroad industry until you reached normal retirement age.

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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