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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Veteran Worker With Physical Impairment Considers Buyout Offer

(Posted October 8, 2006)

Question 604: I've heard that my railroad might relocate my function to another area. Because of my seniority, I might be offered a buyout. I have a physical impairment that might qualify me for a disability annuity from Railroad Retirement. Would a buyout affect my eligibility for such an annuity? If I continue to work, would I be eligible for a disability annuity in the future?

Answer: It depends upon how the buyout payment is structured. If it's paid in a lump sum and none of the payment is allocated to Railroad Retirement service credits, there should be no effect on annuity payments under Railroad Retirement.

Remember, there is a 5-month waiting period before disability annuity payments begin. Usually, a rail worker goes on Railroad Sickness Benefits during the interval.

There are two different types of disability annuities under Railroad Retirement: "Occupational" and "Total & Permanent."

An Occupational Disability Annuity requires a worker to have a "Current Connection." If you ever work outside the railroad industry, you could lose your "Current Connection" after a couple of years of nonrailroad work.

A Total & Permanent Disability Annuity does not require a "Current Connection."

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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