What Kind of Railroad Benefits Are Available to Me?

October 15,2013
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A New York disability attorney may be able to provide you with assistance in determining whether you are eligible for benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act. These benefits usually cover more than general Social Security benefits. Spouses and surviving children of eligible workers may also receive these benefits.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to become eligibility for benefits, you must prove to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board that you have worked for an eligible employer for a sufficient length of time. The Act broadly defines qualifying employers as those who provide any transporting service, whether property or passenger-based. You must also have worked for a period of at least 60 months with such an employer. You must have worked for 120 months if your employment occurred before 1995. One day of work within a month qualifies as an entire month of service.

Railroad Retirement Benefits

You can start receiving benefits sooner or later depending on how many years you have worked in the railroad industry. Once you have 360 months of service, you may retire on the first full month of turning age 60. If you have less than this amount of time in service, your benefits will be reduced if you file before retirement age. Consult the RRB chart for more information on calculating your annuities. The full retirement has been increasing from 65 to 67, based on the year you were born. Similar to Social Security benefits, delaying retirement past your full retirement age results in increased benefits. The Railroad Retirement Board uses a two-tiered system to calculate these benefits.

Spousal Benefits

If an employee is age 60 with at least 30 years of experience, his spouse may receive spousal annuities once he turns age 60. If he has less than 30 years of experience, he must have turned 62 before receiving an annuity. For any spouse caring for a child under the age of 18 or an adult child who became disabled before age 22, the spouse may receive an annuity at any point as long as the covered employee is receiving benefits.

Survivor Benefits

Survivor benefits apply to widows, widowers and adult children over the age of 18 who are dependent upon a deceased railroad worker. The covered employee must have worked for at least 10 years or 5 years if the employment occurred after 1995. The employee must also have a current connection with the employer, which can be as simple as having 12 of the 30 consecutive months of employment occur immediately before the employee’s retirement or the month of his death. A New York disability attorney may provide more information on whether you qualify for survivor benefits.

Eligibility for Benefits

If you have worked for the railroad industry for at least 10 years or 5 months after the year 1995, you may be eligible for disability benefits. If you are unable to perform any type of job, even those outside of the railroad industry, you may qualify for annuities. Your medical evidence must show that you have bee disabled for at least one year or that your condition is expected to deteriorate and result in death. You may also show proof of disability through a functional capacity test or independent evaluation that assesses your ability to perform basic tasks such as bending, walking, lifting, climbing and stooping.

Appealing a Railroad Benefit Decision

If your disability claim is denied unfairly, you may request that the RRB reviews and reconsiders your case within 60 days of rejection. If you do not believe the decision was fair, you may make another appeal to the Bureau of Hearing and Appeals to present additional evidence. You may then appeal to the Railroad Retirement Board of three members and finally with the U.S. Court of Appeals. The multi-tiered appeals system makes it possible to be heard at multiple levels of the disability system. An attorney may be able to help you navigate each step of the appeals system effectively and reduce the time you spend in court.

Hire a New York Disability Attorney

Contact Hermann Law Group, PLLC today at (914) 286-3030 to reach a New York disability attorney you can rely on.