If you have been injured while working in a job that can be considered as railroad employment, you may be eligible for either total disability benefits or occupational disability benefits. However, an award of benefits is based on specific criteria, and denials are common.
A railroad worker or former worker may be eligible for total disability at any age if he or she has 10 years of railroad service or, in certain circumstances, with five years of railroad employment if hired after 1995. Railroad disability attorneys can explain that the determination of disability is very similar to that of Social Security disability:
- The worker must have a medically determinable impairment,
- That prevents the worker from performing substantial gainful activity, and
- Is expected to or has lasted 12 months or is expected to result in death.
This program allows a railroad worker who cannot perform his or her regular railroad job but can do some other type of work to collect benefits. Eligibility is based on 240 months of service for a claimant of any age or between 120-23 months of service if over 60 years old. Railroad disability attorneys caution that if you have less than 10 years of service, you are not eligible for occupational disability.
The Claims Process
An initial application is the first step in the process. Assuming the basic eligibility threshold is met, the claims examiner’s primary focus is on the determination of disability. Because many applicants’ impairments are unique to them and do not fit any pre-defined category, denials are common. An appeal, called reconsideration, may them be filed. This is a very similar process to the initial application but with a different examiner, and again, appeals are not unusual. A third level of appeal, a hearing, in which the applicant may testify, can then be scheduled.
Contact Railroad Disability Attorneys for Legal Advice
It is important to follow proper procedures in filing your railroad disability claim, especially in making a timely appeal to a denial. For any questions regarding your claim, call Hermann Law Group, PLLC for our railroad disability attorneys, at (914) 286-3030.