Railroad workers are entitled to participate in a federal disability program that is administrated by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) and is similar to Social Security Disability (SSD). The program offers expanded and additional benefits not offered by SSD. For example, if you develop chronic illnesses or suffer debilitating injuries, you are not eligible for Social SSD, but you receive more generous benefits under RRB disability. To obtain these benefits, you must prove how debilitating your medical condition is. A railroad disability attorney who knows what medical proof is required to make a successful claim increases your chances of obtaining disability benefits.
What RRB Disability Benefits Are Available?
Similar to the Social Security Administration (SSA), RRB has the same definition for disability: your disability must be severe enough to prevent you from performing substantial gainful activity (SGA) for at least one year. In 2015, the SGA was defined as earning $1,090 a month.
1. Occupational Disability Annuities
Unlike SSA, you are entitled to occupational disability benefits if you:
- Develop an occupational disease or
- Suffer an injury
- That prevents you from working in the railroad industry
This includes any physical and/or mental impairment that prevents you from performing your regular railroad occupational duties even if you are able to perform other kinds of work. To receive these benefits, you must have a current connection with the railroad industry and:
- Have at least 20 years of covered RRB service, or,
- Be between the age of 60 and full retirement age with at least 10 years of covered RRB employment
2. Total Disability Annuities
You are eligible for total disability if an injury caused a permanent disability making it impossible for you to work in any profession or industry. Your must have a permanent physical or mental impairment preventing you from performing any regular or gainful work. To receive full benefits, you:
- Must have at least 10 years of covered employment;
- You may qualify for disability benefits if you worked between 5 to 9 years and earned at least 20 Social Security work credits.
3. Sickness Benefits
You may be entitled to sickness benefits if you:
- Suffered a temporary injury that requires weeks or months to recover.
- Are a female railroad employee who is unable to work because of pregnancy, miscarriage or childbirth.
Seek a Railroad Disability Attorney
If you are unable to work due to sickness or disability and you work in the railroad industry, you need an experienced railroad disability attorney who knows what proof is required to successfully establish your claim. Our attorneys package the information into a persuasive application, including:
- Proof of eligibility
- Relevant medical records, including doctor statements, medical history, diagnosis/medical condition, objective evidence (e.g. radiological findings, physical examination, test and/or laboratory results), treatment notes, and prognosis.
- Proof you are unable to continue performing your duties in the railroad industry and/or any profession that would bring you sufficient income.
Contact a railroad disability attorney with Hermann Law Group, PLLC at (914) 286-3030.