Employee Disability Benefits
To receive the disability benefits described in this booklet, you must file
an application form. This chapter will explain the forms you must file to
receive a disability benefit.
To expedite filing for a disability annuity, you or a family member should
call or write the nearest
Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) field office to
schedule an appointment. For the appointment, bring in any medical evidence in
your possession and any medical records you can secure from your treating
A. Disability Annuity
To receive monthly disability annuity payments, Form AA-1d, Application for
Determination of Employee's Disability, must be filed with Form AA-1, Application
for Employee Annuity, and Form G-251, Vocational Report.
If you have filed for a disability annuity, you are automatically considered
for a period of disability and early Medicare coverage.
B. Period of Disability and Early Medicare Coverage
If you have already received a monthly railroad retirement annuity payment,
you may file Forms AA-1d and G-251 for the period of disability and early Medicare
coverage. Normally, you would do this if you:
- are disabled and applied for, or are already receiving, monthly annuity
payments based on 30 years of railroad service at age 60 or later, or
- receive monthly disability payments but you did not previously qualify for
a period of disability or early Medicare coverage when your annuity began.
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When you apply for any type of disability benefit, it is your responsibility
to prove to the RRB that you are "permanently
disabled". You must provide or
tell us about any evidence which may show you are disabled.
A. How to Furnish Medical Evidence
You may furnish medical evidence in three ways:
- We will give you a report form for your personal physician to complete. In
this way, we can get information about your condition from the medical source
that knows you best.
- We will ask you to sign an authorization to release to the RRB any
hospital, clinic or employer medical records about your condition.
- We may ask you to be examined at the RRB's expense if more evidence is
- obtain more detailed or specialized medical findings about your condition,
- resolve conflicts or differences in the evidence already on file.
B. Acceptable Sources of Medical Evidence
The following are acceptable sources of medical evidence:
- Licensed physicians
- Licensed osteopaths
- Licensed or certified psychologists
- Licensed optometrists
- Persons authorized to send copies or summaries of the medical records of
hospitals, clinics, sanitariums, medical institutions or health care
C. Other Sources of Information
Sometimes, information from other sources can be important to a decision
about your ability to work, such as:
- public and private social welfare agencies,
- observations by non-medical sources (for instance, a vocational consultant), and
- other practitioners (naturopaths, chiropractors, audiologists, etc.).
D. Failure to Submit Evidence
It is in your best interest to fully cooperate if medical or other evidence
is needed so that the decision on your claim is made as quickly as possible and
based on the best information available.
If you fail to submit medical evidence that is needed and requested, a
decision will be made on the evidence available.
If you fail or refuse to report without good cause for an examination
scheduled and paid for by the RRB, it may be decided that you are not disabled.
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After You Return Your Application
After the RRB receives your completed application and all the needed
evidence, the RRB will decide if you are entitled to disability benefits.
If you cannot receive disability benefits, the RRB will send you a notice
- why you cannot receive disability benefits, and
- what you can do if you disagree with the reason you cannot receive them.
If you can receive disability benefits, you will receive a notice that shows
the amount of your monthly payments, if any, and other information about your
Sometimes the RRB will not be able to make a decision on your application
without obtaining additional information. If so, an RRB representative will
contact you by telephone or mail. You may be asked to send us additional forms,
proofs or statements that are needed. You may also be asked to report for a
The RRB will normally notify you of the decision on your application in 4
months or less. If you do not hear from us within that time, contact the nearest
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Periodic Review of Disability
Your case may be periodically reviewed to determine if your condition
is still severe enough to prevent you from working. This is necessary to see if your disability annuity, period of
disability, or early Medicare coverage should continue.
When your case is reviewed, we may ask you for information and evidence
or to report for a medical examination.
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Information and Assistance
Any time you need information or assistance, you may contact the nearest
field office of the RRB. In addition to the personal attention you will receive,
special booklets and other printed material are available. To locate the nearest
RRB office visit our Web site at
http://www.rrb.gov/field/field.asp, or call our
toll-free HelpLine at 1-877-772-5772.
If you need to personally visit one of our field offices, please call for an
appointment. You will not be refused service if you do not have an appointment,
but our staff can serve you better when an appointment is made. Most offices are
open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
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Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Vocational rehabilitation providers furnish a wide variety of services to
help people with disabilities return to work. These services are designed to
provide the client with the training or other services that are needed to return
to work, to enter a new line of work, or to enter the workforce for the first
If you are disabled and want to work, you may contact the rehabilitation
agency in your state directly, at any time, and let that agency know of your
interest in receiving rehabilitation services to help go to work. The address
and telephone number of the state vocational rehabilitation agency can be found
in the telephone book.
Your Responsibility for Reporting Events
Rights to benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act also carry
responsibilities for reporting events that may affect the payment of benefits.
The RRB informs you of events you are obligated to report; and, if you do not
comply, benefit overpayments can occur that have to be repaid, sometimes with
interest and penalties. Part V lists the events
that you must promptly report to the RRB.
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