Railroad retirement provides various retirement benefits along with unemployment-sickness and comprehensive survivor programs for the railroad workers and also to their families. The program that provides retirement benefits to railroad employees was established in the 1930s. so, if you’re a railroad employee, here’s more information about their retirement plans.
Railroad Retirement Benefits
Benefits from the Railroad Retirement Program are broken up into two tiers.
Tier 1 represents basic retirement payments, based on the combined credits you have earned throughout your career under the Railroad Retirement and the Social Security Systems. Just like Social Security, the retirement benefit amount is calculated on the basis of your highest 35 years of railroad service income.
Eligibility for retirement benefits:
If you have completed 5-9 years of service (provided at least 5 years after 1995), you can avail your retirement benefits at age 62 – with an age reduction before Full Retirement Age just like Social Security.
If you have served 10-29 years of service, you can avail your retirement benefits at age 62 – also with an age reduction before Full Retirement Age.
If you have at least 30 years of service, you can avail benefits at age 60 and it includes no age-based reductions.
Railroad Retirement Benefits – Tier I
Apart from retirement benefits, Tier 1 also pays out:
Disability benefits just like Social Security disability benefits
Occupational disability benefits, applicable for those who can still do certain types of work
Children’s survivor benefits, applicable if a railroad employee’s parent is deceased
Spousal retirement benefits, including certain benefits for divorced spouses
Widow’s survivor benefits
Tier 2 represents additional sums to retirees that is based on their duration of railroad service. The added benefits resemble to pensions offered in other industries. The benefit is calculated by considering your average monthly payments of your highest 60 months. Then, the amount is multiplied by 7/10 of 1% (.007) and again it is multiplied by the total number of years in railroad employment.
Tier 2 benefits are available to the retirees who qualify the age and service requirements mentioned in Tier 1. It is also available to retirees who have sustained a current connection with the railroad industry. However, for current connection eligibility, the retiree should work for at least 12 months in the last 30 months before making a claim.
How You Can Apply For Railroad Retirement Benefits
For availing of the benefits, you need to apply for them by contacting your closest Railroad Retirement Board office. You can complete the application for benefits even 3 months before your actual retirement date.
You need to provide certain documents when applying for the benefits:
Proof of your age
Documents related to the Social Security benefits, if at all you are receiving
Proof of any military service, if claimed
Direct deposit information for your bank
Within the Railroad Retirement Program, there are many generous financial benefits available to railroad workers and their families. If you work for the railroad, then it’s necessary for you to know how these retirement benefits can help you.