If you worked for the railroad and are now disabled, you are likely entitled to railroad disability benefits as well as Medicare as long as you are younger than 65. However, some former railroad employees receive Social Security Disability Income instead.
Occupational Railroad Disability Benefits
The Railroad Retirement Board provides two types of disability benefits, occupational and total. Occupational disability means that the worker cannot perform his or her regular job duties at the railroad. However, the person must have worked for the railroad for 20 years or 10 years if he or she is over 60. In addition, the beneficiary needs to have been employed by the railroad for a minimum of 12 of the past 30 months prior to receiving the benefits.
Total Railroad Disability Benefits
Total disability under railroad benefits applies if the beneficiary suffers from a permanent condition that prevents him or her from working. The recipient needs to have worked a minimum of 10 years for the railroad although the time restriction might be shortened to five years in some cases. The condition must last a minimum of 12 months, and the condition must prevent the person from performing any gainful work.
Benefits After 1995
However, you might still be eligible for total railroad disability even with just five years of service if your disability meets the criteria according to Social Security. The SSA has a system of earning credits in the previous 10 years of railroad employment. While a beneficiary can receive benefits even if he or she does not work the full amount of time, the benefits will be less and the retirement amount will be reduced. Those who receive total disability can also receive Medicare two years later. Someone who receives occupational disability can only receive Medicare if they turn 55 and are blind or if they cannot work at all for at least a year. He or she is then eligible for benefits 29 months after the freeze date.
Differences Between SSDI and Railroad Disability Benefits
As of 2009, a Social Security recipient receives about $1,125 monthly while a former railroad worker receives more than twice that amount or an average of $2,800 per month. However, the similarities between the two groups are numerous, including their eligibility for Medicare 24 months after they receive their first check for total disability. Someone with chronic kidney disease is also an exception; he or she is eligible for Medicare just three months after beginning dialysis or five months from the start of the disability until the payment begins. A disabled railroad employee also needs to provide supporting paperwork of the disability with verification from physicians, hospitals, and their employer. A Social Security disability lawyer can provide additional clarification on disability benefits for railroad workers, so talk to an attorney if you are uncertain about your disability status.
Contact Our Railroad Disability Attorney
If you have questions about your right to railroad disability payments, call our railroad disability attorney from Hermann Law Group, PLLC at (914) 286-3030.