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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Unfavorable Decison for Widow Claiming Disability

(Posted June 17, 2010)

Question 759: I am a widow of a railroad worker. According to my doctors,
I am disabled. I submitted all necessary documents to the RRB and I was denied disability benefits. I did not use an attorney. What do I do now?

Answer: You have the right to ask for a "reconsideration" of your claim, but you must file a written request for reconsideration within 60 days of the denial letter with the RRB office that sent you the denial letter.

The RRB will review your claim using different personnel than did the initial decision on your case. They might request that you provide additional medical information or to see another doctor selected by the RRB (at no expense to you). You will receive a letter telling you the results of the review.

If the decision is still unfavorable, you then can appeal to the RRB Bureau of Hearings & Appeals (BHA). The bureau is completely independent of the RRB component that initially handled your claim.

BHA will do a complete review of the written record and might hold an oral hearing in or near your city. In some instances a telephone hearing can be held.

You can then appeal to the three-member RRB panel within 60 days, and finally can file an appeal with the U.S. Circuit Court Appeals within a year.

None of these actions requires the use of an attorney except for filing a court case.

Instead of using an attorney, you could have an official of your husband's Brotherhood be your representative during the reconsideration and appeals process.

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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