The process of applying for Railroad Retirement Disability can be complicated and benefits often take many months to process.
You initiate a claim for Railroad Retirement benefits by contacting the Board’s Field Office and requesting an application. This can be done in person at one of the Board’s field offices, or by telephone or mail. Once you have an application, we will help you to fill it out, and review it to make sure that it is completed, and that it contains all of the relevant medical information necessary for you to win your claim. At Hermann Law Group, we will contact your healthcare providers to obtain the medical records necessary. We will also contact the Railroad Retirement Board on your behalf to request an application, and we will file your application for you.
If your claim is rejected, or if the Board’s decision is unsatisfactory, you will have 60 days in which to request a Reconsideration. You will not testify at your Reconsideration, but new evidence about your disability may be submitted. We can help you at this stage by providing additional information and evidence to the Board, presenting it in the clearest and most thorough manner possible, and monitoring the progress of your claim.
If you do not receive a satisfactory ruling at the reconsideration level, you have 60 days to appeal. The appeal will be heard by the Railroad Retirement Board’s Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, which is independent of the units who decide the applications and reconsiderations. This is typically the best opportunity to have your claim approved. At Hermann Law Group, during this stage of a claim we work on developing the medical documentation that may have been incomplete or unclear up to this point. We also enter into discussions with Hearings officials regarding your claim, and we will appear with you at your Hearing before a Hearing Officer. The hearings are frequently conducted via video–teleconference, however claimants have an absolute right to appear in person before the Hearing Officer.
One final level of appeals remains if you have not been granted a satisfactory judgment at the Hearing. If you file within 60 days, you may have your final appeal heard by a three–member Board. Ordinarily, no new evidence is permitted at this stage, and there will be no new hearings. The three–member Board’s decision is based on the record that existed at the time of the hearing.