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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Are You Disabled?

(Posted September 13, 2006)

Question 593: I had back surgery 20 years ago but I have worked steadily since then. I have not been able to even tie my shoes since the surgery but we all need to eat. I am 55 years old and the pain is now worse. I also have a torn meniscus in my knee. I work in an office envirement (non-railroad) and I don't do heavy lifting but I can't even sit for long periods.

I have 10 years of service in the Railroad Retirement system. What would my chances of a total and permanent disability be? This would be a large paycut but I just can't do it anymore.

Answer: I cannot forecast if you would qualify for a disability annuity from Railroad Retirement. You would need to contact the local Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) district office and file for a disability benefit.

The RRB will take a personal statement about your daily activities and how your physical condition affects you. They will also develop medical evidence from the doctors and hospitals who have treated you, and from independent sources. The RRB will then determine whether or not your physical condition meets the criteria for a Total and Permanent Disability Annuity. There is a 5-month waiting period before payments can begin.

If you file at RRB you also should consider filing for a disability benefit from the Social Security Administration. The two agencies will work together to ensure that their evaluations and decisions are consistent.


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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