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BenefitsLink > Q&A Columns >

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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Service With Alaska Railroad

(Posted April 18, 2011)

Question 814: I retired from the Alaska Railroad prior to 1984. Was I issued a Social Security card?

Answer: As you are no doubt aware, the Alaska Railroad is the only railroad in the United States whose employees are not covered by the Railroad Retirement Act. This goes back to Alaska's territorial days when the federal government constructed and ran the railroad. Its employees were considered to be federal workers and were covered by the U.S. Civil Service Retirement System. Although the railroad was sold to the state government after statehood, the railroad's workers continue to be covered by the federal retirement system.

When Social Security started in 1937, workers had to apply for a card. Federal employees, including those employed by the Alaska Railroad, were not required to have Social Security numbers until 1962. If you no longer have a Social Security card, you can request a duplicate from the Social Security Administration.

As a matter of information, the Railroad Retirement Board was delegated authority by SSA to issue Social Security cards to rail workers who did not have one. RRB-issued numbers all begin with "700." The RRB discontinued issuing "700" series Social Security numbers in 1964.

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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