Railroad Retirement Disability Claims
If you have a disability and have the requisite months and years of service with the railroad, you may be able to receive benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) through railroad retirement claims. It’s best to work with a skilled disability attorney to navigate these claims. They can be complex and often require in-depth legal knowledge. Contact Hermann Law Group, PLLC today.
How a Railroad Retirement Disability Claims Attorney Can Help You
Hermann Law Group, PLLC is one of the premier firms in the region handling all types of disability claims. Our disability attorneys have the legal expertise and knowledge to represent your claim successfully, obtaining the benefits you are entitled to receive.
A disability attorney can help you navigate railroad retirement disability claims, which often become complicated. We can help you with the following:
- Determining eligibility for railroad retirement disability claims
- Assessing benefits for the spouse of a disabled or deceased Railroad worker
- Helping you obtain survivor benefits
- Completing legal documents for railroad retirement disability claims
- Appealing a negative railroad disability benefit claim decision
What Are Railroad Retirement Disability Claims?
While the railroad retirement disability claims process shares some similarities with the Social Security disability process, there are differences. Whether you apply for an Occupational Disability Annuity or a Total and Permanent Disability Annuity, you must prove that you have a certain number of months of creditable Railroad service, and that you have a permanent disability.
A successful claim can provide you with financial benefits that you have earned after working for the railroad for years. In certain circumstances your spouse can also qualify for benefits. If your loved one who worked for the railroad passed away, and you are disabled you may be eligible for survivors’ benefits. Our railroad retirement disability claims attorneys can answer your questions about these benefits.
Railroad Retirement Disability Benefits Eligibility
When you apply with railroad retirement claims for benefits, you will have to show the RRB that you are eligible for benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act. Under the Act a qualifying employer is anyone who performs any type of service transporting by railroad property or passengers. If you worked for an employer who performed these services, you may be eligible.
You must have worked for the qualifying employer for at least 60 months. However, if you worked prior to 1995, you must have completed 120 months of service. One month of service is counted for every month that you work even one day during that month.
In order to determine if you qualify for railroad retirement benefits, you should consult an experienced legal professional. You must provide employment records or a statement from your employer. An attorney can obtain this information on your behalf and take the stress off your shoulders.
When Can I Receive Railroad Retirement Benefits?
If you are eligible for benefits through railroad retirement claims, then you may be able to start receiving benefits upon retirement. However, the exact age that your benefits can begin may vary. If you worked for a railroad employer for at least 360 months, or 30 years, then you may be able to retire as early as age 60. If you worked between 60 months and 359 months, then your benefits may be reduced if you try to retire before full retirement age (FRA). Similarly, if you retire after FRA, then you may receive increased retirement benefits.
FRA is determined according to RRB and government charts. Full retirement age used to be 65; however, depending on the year you were born that may now be 67. The age that you may receive full retirement benefits through railroad retirement claims depends on your date of birth and how long you worked for the railroad. Speak with an attorney to find out more about when you can receive benefits.
Spousal Railroad Retirement Disability Benefits
Your spouse may also be eligible for railroad retirement benefits. If you are the employee and worked for at least 360 months for a railroad employer, then your spouse may be eligible for spousal benefits as early as age 60. If you worked less than 30 years for a railroad employer and are at least age 62, then your spouse may be able to receive an annuity after turning age 62.
Also, if your spouse is caring for a child who is under the age of 18 or who is disabled, then your spouse may be able to receive benefits at any age. If you, the covered employee, are eligible for railroad retirement benefits, then your spouse and young child or disabled child will also be eligible.
Survivor Railroad Retirement Benefits
As a widow or widower, you may also be able to file railroad retirement claims to obtain benefits. Children who are under the age of 18, children who became disabled prior to the age of 22, parents, and other dependents may also be eligible if a covered railroad worker passes away.
If a railroad employee works for a railroad employer for at least 10 years or at least five years if the work was after 1995, then dependents may be eligible for survivor benefits. As long as the employee had a current connection with railroad employment or worked for the railroad at least 12 of the most recent 30 consecutive months prior to death, then dependents would be eligible for survivor benefits through railroad retirement claims.
Appealing an RRB Decision
When you apply for railroad retirement benefits or disability benefits, your claim may be denied by the RRB. In that situation, it’s important to speak with a railroad retirement claims lawyer who can help you navigate the appeals process. Appeals can be complex and often require significant legal statements and evidence submitted in a timely manner. You don’t have to deal with an appeal alone. Contact Hermann Law Group, PLLC right away to appeal your claim.
If your claim is denied, then you have a right to request a reconsideration from the RRB. However, you must meet a 60-day deadline to request reconsideration. If the RRB further denies your claim, you may appeal to the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. At the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, you will present your claim to a hearings officer. This will give you a chance to present evidence of disability or retirement benefits eligibility. If the hearings officer denies your claim, you may appeal to the Railroad Retirement Board, which is a three-member board who will hear your case. Finally, if the board denies your case, then you can file a federal court case in the U.S. Court of Appeals.
At Hermann Law Group, PLLC, we have been representing claimants in these types of benefits claims for over a decade. Our disability attorneys know that applying for benefits can be confusing and difficult, and that it often involves extensive dealings with the Board. We consider it our job to make the process as easy as possible for you. We will fight for your rights, and we will take you through every step of the process with patience and compassion. If you have questions about railroad retirement claims or disability benefits, contact us today.