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RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD BENEFITS
This pamphlet is issued for the purpose of general information. Certain limitations, exceptions, and special cases are not covered.
Unemployment Insurance Act provides two kinds of benefits for railroad
employees: unemployment benefits, when you are not working but
are ready, willing and able to work; and sickness benefits, when
you are unable to work because of illness or injury. Sickness benefits
are also payable to female employees unable to work because of
pregnancy, miscarriage, or childbirth.
A new benefit year for
unemployment and sickness benefits begins every July 1. To qualify in
the benefit year beginning July 1, 2004, you must have base year
earnings of $2,800 in calendar year 2003, not counting earnings of more
than $1,120 per month. To qualify in the benefit year beginning July
1, 2005, you must have base year earnings of $2,825 in calendar year
2004, not counting earnings of more than $1,130 per month. If the base
year was your first year of railroad service, you must also have worked
in five months of that year.
The maximum daily benefit payable in benefit year 2004-05 is $56 and, for biweekly claims, maximum benefits can total $560. While the daily benefit rate will remain at $56 in July 2005, it may increase at the beginning of each future benefit year depending on the growth in average national wages.
Registration and waiting period --Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over four in 14-day registration periods. Initial sickness claims must also begin with four consecutive days of sickness. However, during the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are only payable for each day of unemployment or sickness in excess of seven which, in effect, provides a one-week waiting period. But, only one seven-day waiting period is required during any period of continuing unemployment or sickness, even if that period continues into a subsequent benefit year.
Strike benefits --If
you are unemployed because of a strike conducted in accordance with the
Railway Labor Act, benefits are not payable for days of unemployment
during the first 14 days of the strike, but benefits are payable during
subsequent 14-day periods. If a strike is in violation of the Railway
Labor Act, unemployment benefits are not payable to employees
participating in the strike. However, employees not among those
participating in such an illegal strike, but who are unemployed on
account of the strike, may receive benefits after the first two weeks of
Normal benefits--Normal benefits are paid for up to 130 days (26 weeks) in a benefit year. Benefit rights are exhausted when a benefit year ends (normally June 30) or earlier if benefit payments equal base year creditable earnings. For purposes of determining maximum normal benefits payable in benefit year 2004-05, monthly earnings of up to $1,447 in base year 2003 are counted. In benefit year 2005-06, monthly earnings up to $1,460 in base year 2004 will be counted.
Extended benefits --If you have 10 or
more years of service and exhaust your normal unemployment or sickness
benefits, you may be eligible to receive extended benefits for up to 65
days (13 consecutive weeks). Also, if you are not qualified for normal
benefits in the current benefit year, but received normal benefits in
the previous year, you may still be eligible for extended benefits.
Accelerated benefits --If you have 10 or more years of service and your earnings do not qualify you for unemployment or sickness benefits in the current benefit year, but will qualify you in the next benefit year, you may be able to receive normal unemployment or sickness benefits before the regular beginning date of the next benefit year. To be eligible, you must have 14 or more consecutive days of either unemployment or sickness; not have voluntarily retired or, if claiming unemployment benefits, quit work without good cause; and be under age 65 when claiming sickness benefits.
To be eligible for unemployment benefits, you must be ready, willing and able to work and be available for work. A "day of unemployment" is a day on which you meet these conditions and do not receive any pay, are not disqualified, and have properly registered for unemployment benefits. If you are in train and engine service, any calendar day on which you do not work solely because of a mileage limitation or work-restriction agreement or solely because you are between regularly assigned trips or tours of duty, or because you missed a turn in pool service, is not considered a day of unemployment.
To be eligible for sickness benefits, you must be unable to work because of illness or injury. A "day of sickness" is a day on which you meet this condition and for which you do not receive any pay and have filed a "statement of sickness" signed by your doctor or other authorized individual. This statement provides evidence of your medical condition and its expected duration.
You may not receive benefits for any day for which you receive pay. This includes railroad and non-railroad wages, salary, pay for time lost, pay while sick, dismissal allowances, most wage guaranty payments, vacation pay, holiday pay, military reservist pay, earnings from self-employment, or remuneration other than subsidiary remuneration.
However, payments received under an approved nongovernmental supplemental unemployment or sickness insurance plan, your own health or accident insurance policy or a group insurance policy will not affect entitlement to unemployment or sickness benefits and should not be reported on your claims.
Also, an earnings test is applied to unemployment claims. If a claimant's earnings for days worked, and/or days of vacation or paid leave, in a 14-day registration period are more than a certain indexed amount, no benefits are payable for any days of unemployment in that period. Earnings include pay from self-employment and railroad, non-railroad, and part-time work. Earnings also include pay that you would have earned except for your failure to mark up or report for duty on time, or because you missed a turn in pool service or were otherwise not ready or willing to work.
For the benefit year beginning July 2004, the earnings test is $1,120; and for the benefit year that begins July 2005 the test will be $1,130. These amounts correspond to the base year monthly compensation amounts used in determining eligibility for benefits in each year. But, even if an earnings test applies on the first claim in a benefit year, this will not prevent the first claim from satisfying the waiting period in that benefit year.
On the other hand, earnings of not more than $15 a day from work which is substantially less than full-time and not inconsistent with the holding of normal full-time employment may be considered subsidiary remuneration and may not prevent payment of any days in a claim. However, be sure to report all full and part-time work on your claims, regardless of the amount of your earnings, so the Board can determine whether it affects your benefits.
Unemployment--In order to receive unemployment benefits, you must file an application for benefits by mail or through the Board’s Web site (www.rrb.gov). If you choose to file by mail, you must obtain an application from your employer, labor organization, local Railroad Retirement Board office or the Board's Web site. The completed application should be mailed to the local Board office as soon as possible and, in any case, must be filed within 30 days of the date on which you became unemployed or the first day for which you wish to claim benefits. Benefits may be lost if the application is filed late.
In order to file for unemployment benefits through the Board’s Web site, or to conduct other business over the Internet, you must first establish an RRB Internet Services account. Employees are encouraged to establish online accounts while still employed so the account is ready if they ever need to apply for these benefits or use other Internet services. Once you establish an online account, you do not need to do so again. Directions for establishing an online account are available by clicking the link "Main Line Services" on the Board’s Web site at www.rrb.gov.
In either case, the local Board office reviews the completed unemployment application and notifies your base-year railroad employer, and your current employer if different. Your employer has the right to provide information about your benefit application. Biweekly claim forms are then mailed to you as long as you remain unemployed and eligible for benefits.
The Board must notify your base-year employer each time you file a claim for unemployment benefits and give that employer an opportunity to submit information relevant to the claim before the Board makes an initial determination on it. Any current employer is also notified. The Board also notifies your base-year employer each time benefits are paid to you. While the base-year employer may protest the decision to pay benefits, such a protest does not prevent the timely payment of benefits. However, you may be required to repay benefits if the protest is successful.
You should contact a Board office if you do not receive a claim or notice of ineligibility within 15 days of submitting an application or claim.
Claim forms should be signed and mailed only on or after the last day of the claim. The completed claim must be received by a Board office within 15 days of the end of the claim or the date the claim was mailed to you, whichever is later. While you can file applications online, employees cannot yet file their biweekly claims over the Internet, but the Board is planning to add this service in the future.
Only one application need be filed during a benefit year even if you become unemployed more than once. In that case, you must request a new claim form from a Board office within 30 days of the first day for which you want to claim benefits.
Sickness --An application for sickness benefits can be obtained from railroad employers, railroad labor organizations, any Board office or printed off the Board's Web site (www.rrb.gov). An application and a doctor's statement of sickness are required at the beginning of each "period of continuing sickness" for which benefits are claimed. The Board suggests that you keep an application form on hand for use in claiming sickness benefits, and that your family knows where the form is kept and how to use it.
Attached to each application is a statement of sickness which must be completed by your doctor. If you become unable to work because of sickness or injury, complete your application and take or send it to your doctor for completion of the statement of sickness.
If you are too sick to complete the application, someone else may do it for you. In such cases, a member of your family should also complete the "Statement of Authority to Act for Employee," which accompanies the statement of sickness.
After completion, the forms should be mailed to the Board's headquarters in Chicago by the seventh day of illness or injury for which benefits are claimed. (Employees cannot file for sickness benefits through the Board’s Web site.) After the Board receives your application and statement of sickness and determines eligibility, biweekly claim forms are mailed to you for completion and return to a Board field office for processing.
The claim forms must be received at the Board within 30 days of the last day of the claim period, or within 30 days of the date the claim form was mailed to you, whichever is later. Benefits may be lost if an application or claim is filed late. If an unemployment or sickness application or claim is filed late, you should include a signed statement explaining the reason for the late filing.
As with claims for
unemployment benefits, the Board must notify your base-year employer
each time a claim for sickness benefits is filed. That employer has the
right to submit information relevant to the claim before the Board makes
its initial determination. If your current employer is not your
base-year employer, your current employer is also notified. In addition,
the base-year employer is notified each time benefits are paid to you.
While the base-year employer may appeal the decision to pay benefits,
the appeal does not prevent the timely payment of benefits. However, you
may be required to repay benefits if the appeal is successful.
However, some claims for benefits may take longer to handle than others if they are more complex, or if a Board office has to get information from other people or organizations. If this happens, you may expect an explanation and an estimate of the time required to make a decision.
The normal method of payment for railroad unemployment and sickness benefits is by Direct Deposit. With Direct Deposit, payments are issued directly to a claimant's bank, savings and loan, credit union or other financial institution. Applicants for unemployment and sickness benefits are asked to provide information needed for Direct Deposit enrollment.
The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act authorizes the Board to operate a free placement service. The primary purpose of the placement service is to secure new employment for experienced railroad workers who have lost their jobs.
When you apply for unemployment benefits you also apply for employment service. You will probably be interviewed by a Board representative who will try to help you secure employment if you do not have good prospects of returning to your former job. You may be referred by the representative to a suitable railroad job; otherwise, an effort will be made to place you in a non-railroad job for which you appear qualified. As part of its placement service, the Board maintains a list of job openings reported by railroads to its field offices. The list is available for review at all offices of the Board and on the Board's Web site (www.rrb.gov).
If you have been paid a separation allowance by your employer, you cannot receive unemployment or sickness benefits for roughly the period of time it would have taken to earn the amount of the allowance.
If you leave either your railroad or non-railroad job voluntarily without good cause, you will be disqualified for railroad unemployment benefits until you have returned to railroad work and earned wages sufficient to qualify for benefits again.
If you leave work
voluntarily with good cause, you will be disqualified for unemployment
benefits for periods in which you could receive unemployment benefits
under another law. If you are not qualified for other unemployment
benefits, you may receive railroad unemployment benefits.
You will be disqualified
for unemployment benefits for any day on which you take part in a strike
which began in violation of the Railway Labor Act or in violation of the
established rules and practices of your labor organization.
You will be disqualified for both unemployment and sickness benefits for 75 days if you make a false or fraudulent statement or claim to obtain benefits. You may also be subject to fine or imprisonment. The Railroad Retirement Board conducts checks with Federal agencies, all 50 States (as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico), and railroads to detect fraudulent benefit claims. The Board also checks with physicians to verify the accuracy of medical statements supporting sickness benefit claims.
If you receive a regular retirement or survivor benefit under the Railroad Retirement Act, Social Security Act, or any other social insurance law for days for which you are also entitled to benefits under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, your unemployment or sickness benefits are payable only to the extent to which they exceed the other payments for those days. Examples of other such social insurance payments are military pensions, firefighters' and police pensions, or certain workers' compensation payments. Claimants should report all such other payments promptly to avoid having to refund benefits later.
There is no reduction in unemployment or sickness benefits for benefits paid under a Board-approved nongovernmental sickness insurance plan, such as a supplemental sickness benefit plan established by a railroad. Similarly, there is no reduction in benefits if you receive supplemental unemployment benefits under a Board-approved nongovernmental unemployment benefit plan. But unemployment and sickness benefits provided under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act are not payable to you if you also receive Federal/State unemployment or sickness benefits under other laws, including Canadian law, for the same period of time.
If you receive sickness benefits for an injury or illness for which you are paid damages, the Board is entitled to reimbursement of either the amount of the benefits paid for the injury or illness, or the net amount of the settlement (after deducting your gross medical, hospital, and legal expenses), whichever is less.
Unemployment benefits can sometimes be paid even though you are covered by a job protection plan which guarantees you a certain amount of work or wages each month. However, if you receive a protective allowance from your employer for a period for which benefits were paid, some or all of the benefits will have to be refunded. Report such allowances promptly to the Board.
Employers.--Employers may protest the payment of a claimant’s benefits, but such protests do not prevent the timely payment of benefits. However, employees may be required to repay benefits if their employers' protests are ultimately successful.
Employees.--If you disagree with a decision made on your claim, you have 60 days from the date of the initial notice of the decision in which to file a written statement requesting reconsideration from the Board office that made the decision. This step is mandatory before a decision may be appealed to the Board's Bureau of Hearings and Appeals. Failure to request reconsideration within 60 days will result in forfeiture of further appeal rights.
If the case involves a benefit overpayment of more than 10 times the maximum daily benefit rate, you may request a waiver of repayment. A request for waiver filed within 60 days will, in certain cases, defer recovery of the overpayment from subsequent benefit payments. If you request waiver, you may be asked to complete a financial statement on a form provided by the Board. If dissatisfied with the reconsideration or waiver decision of a Board office, you may, within 60 days, appeal to the Board's Bureau of Hearings and Appeals.
If not satisfied with the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals' decision, you may further appeal, within 60 days, to the three-member Board.
If not satisfied with the three-member Board's decision, you may file a petition for a review of your claim by a U.S. Court of Appeals. A petition for review must be filed within 90 days of the notice of the Board's decision.
Unemployment benefits paid by the Board are subject to Federal income tax, just like unemployment benefits paid under State government programs.
Sickness benefits paid by the Board, except for sickness benefits resulting from on-the-job injuries, are subject to Federal income tax under the same limitations and conditions that apply to the taxation of sick pay received by workers in other industries.
Unemployment Insurance Act specifically provides that railroad
unemployment and sickness benefits are not subject to State income
taxes. In January of each year, the Board sends railroad employees Form
1099-G showing the total amount of unemployment benefits paid during the
previous year and/or a Form W-2 showing the net amount of sickness
Claimants may also obtain information on railroad unemployment and sickness benefits by using the automated toll-free RRB Help Line, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 1-800-808-0772. The Board’s Web site at www.rrb.gov is another source of information on railroad unemployment and sickness benefits, and includes access to publications that may be downloaded and a new Internet service to file applications for unemployment benefits online.
if you prefer, you can also contact the nearest office of the Railroad
Retirement Board for information about railroad unemployment and
sickness benefits. To locate the nearest Board office, you may call the
RRB Help Line at 1-800-808-0772 or access the Board’s Web site at
www.rrb.gov. You may also look in the telephone directory under
"United States Government," or check with your union
representative, a rail employer, a local post office, or the nearest
Federal Information Center. Most Board offices are open to the public
from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on Federal
If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the presentation of information in this publication, please let us know. You can fax us at 1-312-751-7154, e-mail us at email@example.com or write us at the following address:
Office of Public Affairs
Address of Denver Office
Railroad Retirement Board
The remaining pages in this portion of the Local 446 Handbook are four reprints from the RRRB concerning retirement. Certain portions thereof will definitely be modified if the 60-30 bill ever becomes law. These pages are included only to educate the membership on the need to have the law passed, as well as to illustrate the need for planning ahead.
United States of
America Form G-177 (02-02)
Conditions Under Which a Person is Entitled to a
Age RequirementThe age requirement for an age and service annuity depends on your years of creditable railroad service. You must file an application to receive a railroad retirement annuity. When all eligibility requirements are met, your age and service annuity can begin as explained in Chart 1. Chart 2 explains Full Retirement Age (FRA).
CHART 1 - DETERMINING YOUR ANNUITY BEGINNING DATE
The term Full Retirement Age (FRA) means the age at which an employee with less than 30 years of railroad service can receive a full annuity (not reduced for early retirement).
If you have less than 30 years of railroad service, FRA for your Tier 1 age reduction is age 65 if you were born before January 2, 1938. The FRA for persons born after January 1, 1938, will gradually increase over a 20-year period to age 67, as illustrated in the following chart. FRA for your Tier 2 age reduction will remain at age 65 if you had any creditable railroad service before August 12, 1983. Otherwise, the FRA for your Tier 2 age reduction will gradually increase in the same manner as FRA for your Tier 1 age reduction.
(Full Retirement Age also affects Tier 1 annuity deductions due to earnings as described in Chart 3, regardless of your total years of railroad service.)
You may be eligible for an annuity based on total disability at any age if you:
1. meet the railroad service requirement. You must either:
a. have at least 120
months of creditable railroad service; or,
2. are Permanently Disabled for all possible types of work. (Employees are considered to be Permanently Disabled if they qualify for a period of disability under Social Security Administration rules and the impairment is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death); and,
3. have stopped any Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) (as explained in the next section).
You must file an application to receive a railroad retirement total and permanent disability annuity. Under the law, a disability annuity cannot begin earlier than the first day of the sixth month following the month in which the disability occurs. If you have less than 120 months of creditable railroad service, your Tier 2 cannot begin before you attain age 62.
To qualify for a total and permanent disability annuity, you must stop all Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA). SGA is the performance of significant duties, that are usually done for pay or profit, over a reasonable period of time. Significant duties are activities that are useful in a job, or operation of a business, and that have economic value. For more information on SGA, contact the nearest field office of the RRB.
You may qualify for an employee occupational disability annuity if you are Permanently Disabled for work in your regular railroad occupation and you have a Current Connection with the railroad industry (as explained on page 3). The earliest date the occupational disability can begin depends on your railroad service. You are eligible:
You must file an application to receive a railroad retirement occupational disability annuity. Under the law, a disability annuity cannot begin earlier than the first day of the sixth full month following the month in which disability onset occurs.
If your annuity is based on 60-119 months of railroad service after 1995, you qualify for a Tier 1 if you have an SSA Insured Status based on combined railroad and social security earnings. You have an SSA Insured Status if:
1. your annuity is based on age and you have at least 40 quarters of coverage; or,
2. your annuity is based on total disability and you have a Disability Freeze (D/F) under SSA rules. (See Booklet RB-1D Employee Disability Benefits for an explanation of a D/F). The D/F cannot be deemed.
Your Regular Railroad Occupation is the one in which you worked:
1. in more months that you worked in any other occupation, in or outside of the railroad industry, during the last 5 years in which you were employed (the 5 years do not have to be consecutive); or
2. in at least one-half of all the months worked in the last 15 consecutive years.
In order to receive your employee railroad retirement age and service or disability annuity, you must stop all railroad work for pay (no longer carried on the payroll). For an age and service annuity, you must also relinquish rights to railroad employment. Also note that, after the annuity is awarded, payment cannot be made for any month in which you return to work for a railroad employer.
Some retired railroad employees may be eligible to receive a supplemental annuity of $23 through $43 from the RRB. This is in addition to your regular age and service or disability annuity.
The amount of your supplemental annuity is reduced if you receive monthly pension payments, or lump-sum pension payments, from your former railroad employer, which are based in whole or in part on contributions from that railroad employer. Your own contributions to your pension account do not cause a reduction.
To be eligible for the supplemental annuity, you must:
1. Be at least age 65 with at least 300 months (25 years) of railroad service, or be at least age 60 with at least 360 months (30 years) of railroad service; and,
2. Have at least 1 month of railroad service before October 1, 1981; and,
3. Have a Current Connection with the railroad industry (as explained below); and,
4. Be receiving your employee railroad retirement annuity.
You must have a Current Connection with the railroad industry to qualify for an occupational disability annuity, a supplemental annuity or for future survivor benefits. You have a regular current connection with the railroad industry if you meet either of the following conditions:
1. You worked for a railroad in at least 12 of the 30 consecutive months immediately before the month in which your annuity begins; or,
2. You worked in the railroad industry in at least 12 months in any earlier period of 30 consecutive months and you did not work in any significant non-railroad employment between the end of that 30-month period and the month in which your annuity begins.
However, work for certain government agencies will not break your current connection. Also, self-employment or employment after your employee annuity beginning date will not break your current connection.
If you do not have a regular current connection, you may have a Deemed Current Connection for only a supplemental annuity or for future survivor benefits if you:
1. Have at least 25 years of railroad service; and,
2. Stopped working in the railroad industry involuntarily and without fault for a non-medical reason on or after October 1, 1975; and,
3.Did not decline an offer to remain in or return to railroad employment in the same class or craft as your most recent railroad service (regardless of the number of miles you would have had to move to accept such job).
Any earnings can have an effect on disability annuities.
If your annuity is based on age and service and you are receiving social security benefits, your Tier 1 benefit is not reduced for your non-railroad earnings. If you are not receiving social security benefits, the Annual Earnings Exempt Amount is the amount of non-railroad earnings you can have in a year without losing part of your Tier 1 benefit and/or the Tier 1 benefit of your spouse. There are separate Annual Earnings Exempt Amounts for persons at Full Retirement Age (FRA) and those under FRA.
Use Chart 2 to determine your FRA and then refer to Chart 3 below and Form G-77a How Earnings Affect Payment of Retirement Annuities.
CHART 3 – DETERMINING YOUR ANNUAL EARNINGS EXEMPT AMOUNT
Tier 2 Reductions for Last Pre-retirement Non-Railroad Earnings
Your Last Pre-Retirement Non-Railroad Employer (LPE) is generally any non-railroad employer(s) for whom you performed service at the same time or after you stopped railroad work, but before your age and service or disability beginning date.
Any earnings can have an effect on disability annuities. For age and service annuities, any earnings after your annuity beginning date from your LPE, at any age, may cause a reduction to your supplemental annuity, your Tier 2 benefit and the Tier 2 benefit of your spouse.
The reduction is $1 for every $2 earned (subject to the maximum reduction of 50% of the employee and spouse Tier 2 benefits and 50% of any supplemental annuity).
If you would like more information, read Booklet RB-1 Age and Service Employee Annuities or booklet RB-1D Employee Disability Benefits before you come in to file for your annuity. These booklets are available at www.rrb.gov.
INFORMATION ABOUT CONTINUING IN OR RETURNING TO NON-RAILROAD
B. "LAST PERSON SERVICE"
· · "Last Person Service" is a term that generally refers to the last employment with a non-railroad person, company or institution prior to retirement which was performed at the same time or after the person stopped railroad employment. Even work for which the employee or spouse received minimum earnings can be considered "last person service" employment.
C. THE EMPLOYEE OR SPOUSE NO LONGER NEEDS TO STOP WORKING IN "LAST PERSON SERVICE" TO RECEIVE AND ANNUITY
Beginning December 1, 1988, an employee or spouse can
1) continue working in non-railroad employment or,
D. EARNINGS RESTRICTIONS
!f the employee or spouse continues in or returns to "last person-service" employment, the tier II benefit and any supplemental annuity payment is subject to a reduction of one dollar for each two dollars of compensation received in "last person service," up to a maximum of 50 percent of each component.
If an employee continues in "last person service," both the employee and spouse annuity are subject to deductions, even if the spouse is not in "last person service"
deductions which affect the tier I and vested dual benefit components
still apply to all earnings over the annual earnings exempt amount, if
regular work deductions
THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD WILL DETERMINE IF THE NON-RAILROAD EMPLOYMENT IS "LAST PERSON SERVICE"
· The Railroad Retirement Board will determine if non-railroad employment is considered "last person service." Some types of non-railroad work, including self-employment are not considered "last person service" employment no matter when they are performed. These jobs will no have "last person service" earnings restrictions assessed against them.
· Contact the nearest office of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board for further information Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
F. THE EMPLOYEE OR SPOUSE MUST CONTACT THE RAILROAD RETIREMENT BOARD IMMEDIATELY IF (S)HE RETURNS TO "LAST PERSON SERVICE" EMPLOYMENT
· An employee or spouse must notify the Railroad Retirement Board immediately, if (s)he returns to work in "last person service" employment.
· !f the employee or spouse is filing for an annuity, this information will be requested at the time of filing.
· A written statement must be submitted if the employee or spouse has already retired and wishes to return to work in "last person service" employment. The statement should include:
· The employee or spouse must also submit a final report of these earnings to the Railroad Retirement Board by April 15 of the year following the "last person service" employment. This final report is required by law.
· If the employee or spouse does not notify us promptly, (s)he may be paid more annuity than is due and have to refund the overpayment.
· The employee or spouse should also notify the Railroad Retirement Board immediately, if the previous earnings estimate changes or (s)he stops working.
Conditions Under Which a Person is Entitled to a Railroad Retirement SPOUSE ANNUITY
The requirement for a spouse annuity based on age depends on the employee's years of creditable railroad service, the employee's age, and your age. The employee must be receiving an annuity and you must file an application for your spouse annuity. When all eligibility requirements are met, a spouse annuity based on your age can begin as explained in Chart 1 and Chart 2. Chart 3 explains Full Retirement Age (FRA).
CHART 1 - AGE REQUIREMENTS - EMPLOYEE HAS AT LEAST 360 MONTHS OF RAILROAD SERVICE
Full Retirement Age (FRA) for Annuities Based on Less Than 30 years of Service
The term Full Retirement Age (FRA) means the age at which the spouse of an employee with less than 30 years of railroad service can receive a full annuity (not reduced for early retirement).
If the employee has less than 30 years of railroad service, FRA for spouses who were born before January 2, 1938, is age 65. The FRA for persons born after January 1, 1938, will gradually increase over a 20-year period to age 67, as illustrated in the following chart. FRA for your Tier 2 age reduction will remain at age 65 if the employee had any railroad service before August 12,1983, Full Retirement Age for your Tier 2 age reduction will remain at age 65. Otherwise, the Full Retirement Age for your Tier 2 age reduction will gradually increase in the same manner as FRA for your Tier 1 age reduction.
(FRA also affects Tier 1 annuity deductions due to earnings, regardless of the number of the employee’s years of railroad service, as described in Chart 4.)
CHART 3 - DETERMINING YOUR FULL RETIREMENT AGE
The marriage requirement is met if any of the following conditions exist:
Definition of Child-in-Care
A wife may qualify for a spouse annuity, or a husband may qualify for a Tier 1 benefit, at any age, based on a child of the employee in care. The employee must have attained age 62 (or age 60 with 30 years of service) to qualify the spouse for this annuity. The child must be either:
The term Child in Care includes the railroad employee's unmarried natural child, adopted child or dependent stepchild, or under certain conditions, a grandchild whose parents are deceased or disabled. A child is in your care if you exercise parental control over, and are responsible for, the welfare and care of the child. If the child is permanently disabled, but mentally competent, he or she is considered to be in your care if you perform personal services. The RRB will make the final determination regarding the personal services you perform and whether or not they constitute the child being in your care.
Tier 1 Reductions for Non-Railroad Earnings
Your Tier 1 benefits are not reduced for your non-railroad earnings if you are receiving social security benefits. Otherwise, the Annual Earnings Exempt Amount is the amount of non-railroad earnings you can have in a calendar year without losing part of your Tier 1 Benefit. Use Chart 3, on page 2, to determine your Full Retirement Age (FRA). Then refer to Chart 4 below and Form G-77a, "How Earnings Affect Payment of Retirement Annuities."
The employee's non-railroad earnings over the Annual Earnings Exempt Amount for the employee's age group may also cause a reduction in your Tier 1 benefit.
CHART 3 - DETERMINING YOUR ANNUAL EARNINGS EXEMPT AMOUNT
SSA Insured Status
If the employee’s annuity is based on 60-119 months of railroad service after 1995, you qualify for a Tier 1 benefit if the employee has an SSA Insured Status based on combined railroad and social security earnings. The employee has an SSA Insured Status if:
1. the employee has at least 40 quarters of coverage in age and service cases; or,
2. the employee has a Disability Freeze (D/F) under SSA rules in disability cases. (See Booklet RB-1D Employee Disability Benefits for an explanation of a D/F). The D/F cannot be deemed.
Tier 2 Reductions for Last Pre-Retirement Non-Railroad Earnings
Your Last Pre-Retirement Non-Railroad Employer (LPE) is generally any non-railroad employer for whom you performed service before your annuity beginning date. You may have more than one LPE if you worked for more than one non-railroad employer before your spouse annuity beginning date.
Any earnings after your spouse annuity beginning date from your LPE, at any age, may cause a reduction to your Tier 2 benefit. The reduction is $1 for every $2 earned (subject to the maximum reduction of 50% of your Tier 2 benefit).
If the employee has an LPE employer and the employee works for that employer after your spouse annuity beginning date, those LPE earnings can also cause a reduction to your Tier 2 benefit.
When a Spouse Annuity is Not Payable
A spouse annuity is not payable for any month in which:
When a Spouse Annuity Ends
A spouse annuity ends the month before the month in which:
If you would like more information concerning spouse annuities, please request Booklet RB-30 Spouse/Divorced Spouse Annuity before you come in to file for your annuity.
Form G-177a (6-00)
United States of
America Form G-177c (2-02)
Under Which a Person is Entitled
When all eligibility requirements are met and you file an application, a divorced spouse annuity based on your age can begin as follows. Full Retirement Age (FRA) is explained in Chart 2.
CHART 1 - DETERMINING YOUR AGE REQUIREMENT
Definition of Full Retirement Age for an Age Reduction
Your Full Retirement Age (FRA) means the age at which you can receive a full divorced spouse annuity with no reduction for early retirement. Full Retirement Age for persons born before January 2, 1938 is age 65. FRA for persons born after January 1, 1938 will gradually increase as illustrated in Chart 2.
FRA also affects the amount of non-railroad earnings you can earn after the annuity beginning date, as explained in Chart 3.
CHART 2 - DETERMINING YOUR FULL RETIREMENT AGE
In order to qualify for a divorced spouse annuity, your marriage must have ended by final divorce decree and you must meet each of the following requirements:
SSA Insured Status
If the employee’s annuity is based on 60-119 months of railroad service after 1995, you qualify for a divorced spouse annuity if the employee has an SSA insured status based on combined railroad and social security earnings. The employee has an SSA insured status if:
Tier 1 Reductions for Non-Railroad Earnings
Your divorced spouse annuity is not reduced for your non-railroad earnings if you are receiving social security benefits. Otherwise, your Annual Earnings Exempt Amount is the amount of non-railroad earnings you can have in a calendar year without losing part of your benefit. Use Chart 2 on previous page to determine your Full Retirement Age (FRA). Then refer to Chart 3 below and Form G-77a, How Earnings Affect Payment of Retirement Annuities. The employee's non-railroad earnings over the Annual Earnings Exempt Amount for the employee’s age group may cause a reduction in your benefit.
CHART 3 - DETERMINING YOUR ANNUAL EARNINGS EXEMPT AMOUNT
When a Divorced Spouse Annuity is not Payable
Your divorced spouse annuity is not payable for any month in which:
When a Divorced Spouse Annuity Ends
Your divorced spouse annuity ends the month before the month in which:
If you would like more information concerning divorced spouse annuities, please request Booklet RB-30 Spouse/Divorced Spouse Annuity before you come in to file for your annuity. This booklet is available at www.rrb.gov.
Form G-177c (2-02)