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

Answers are provided by Robert S. Kaufman

Free & Reduced Cost Transportation Benefits

(Posted April 16, 2001)

Question 93: I have a railroad Social Security number but I have only worked for a year. I'm now 72. Can I receive any travel benefits?

Answer: Free and reduced cost transportation benefits for rail workers and their dependents are handled by individual railroads.

By the way, here is some history behind your "700-series" Social Security Account number. From the beginning of the Social Security program in 1935 until 1963, people whose first job was in the railroad industry were issued a unique Social Security account number to readily identify them as members of the Railroad Retirement System. Those account numbers began with a "7" and were issued by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) in Chicago.

As the practice of issuing Social Security numbers to high school age children spread following World War II, the number of workers starting railroad jobs without a Social Security account number shrank dramatically. By the early 1960's, the benefits of this unique identifier were no longer relevant, so the RRB returned all of the unissued numbers in the "700" series to Social Security. In fact, the RRB issued the last "700" numbers to a handful of its own staff who, as Federal workers, were not required to have a Social Security number before then.

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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