Railroad Retirement Board Benefits

Visit the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) at www.rrb.gov or call 1-800-808-0772. For general information, see the Railroad Retirement Handbook 2006.

RRB temporary disability benefits

If you are injured or sick and cannot work at your railroad job, you have the right to apply for temporary RRB disability or sickness benefits. See www.rrb.gov/forms/opa/ub9/ub9.asp#introductionRRB and the Sickness Benefits Handbook.

These benefits are paid on a bi-weekly basis. In order to receive temporary disability benefits, you must:

Be unable to work due to injury, sickness, pregnancy, or child birth; and

Not be receiving wages or pay from your employer railroad (however, payments from your own personal insurance coverage do not prevent you from receiving RRB benefits).

Click here to print out the application form or obtain an application form from your attorney, labor representative, railroad benefits department, or RRB office, and take the following steps:

  • Have your treating doctor complete the statement of sickness on the application form
  • Complete and mail the application within ten days of the first day you become sick or injured. (Late applications may delay or reduce benefits.)

Remember, any RRB benefits you receive constitute a lien against any settlement or judgment you obtain against your employer railroad for an on-the-job injury or against any third party responsible for your injury.

You can contact the RRB at 1-800-808-0772 or www.rrb.gov or call us at 1-800-654-RAIL if you have any questions.

RRB disability pensions

If you are permanently disabled due to an injury or sickness, you may be entitled to receive a RRB disability pension. See the RRB information here. There are two kinds of long-term disability pensions—total and occupational.

Total disability pension

You may be entitled to an RRB total disability pension if two conditions exist:

  • You have at least ten years of compensated service (that is, at least 120 months of credited railroad service in your RRB account) or at least five years of compensated service since 1995
  • You are permanently disabled from any regular and gainful work (not just your railroad job)

A RRB total disability pension is based upon the same standards used by the Social Security Administration.

You can contact the RRB at 1-800-808-0772 or www.rrb.gov or call our railroad law firm at 1-800-654-RAIL if you have any questions.

Occupational disability

You may be entitled to an RRB occupational disability pension if the following conditions exist:

  • You have at least 20 years of compensated service (that is, at least 240 months of credited railroad service in your RRB account) or you are over age 60 with at least ten years of compensated service
  • You are permanently disabled from performing any aspect of the duties of your regular railroad occupation
  • You have a "current connection" with the railroad (basically, that means your last job was on the railroad and you have had no intervening employment for the preceding 2.5 years)

There is a five-month waiting period for the payment of disability annuity benefits that begins the month after the onset of your disability. However, you can and should file your application as soon as your doctor concludes you are permanently disabled from your railroad job.

The RRB will pay your disability pension benefits retroactively, based upon the commencement of your disability period. Attempts to return to work after the commencement of your disability will affect how far back any retroactive benefits go.

Keep in mind that if you are on a RRB disability pension you are restricted from earning more than $700 per month (or $8,400 per year) in any employment or net self-employment. However, that earnings restriction is removed when you reach your full retirement age.

It is best to consult with your attorney and/or your local RRB office before attempting to file a disability pension application.

You can contact the RRB at 1-800-808-0772 or www.rrb.gov or call us if you have any questions.