Employee Disability Benefits
Special Railroad Retirement Board Terms Defined
The following are definitions of certain terms used throughout this publication.
- Blindness - To meet the definition of blindness your:
- eyesight must be no better than 20/200 in the better eye with the best correction, or
- visual fields in both eyes must be severely restricted.
(or imprisonment) - To be under a sentence of confinement or
imprisonment means confinement to a jail, prison, or other penal institution
or correctional facility. This includes any facility that is under the control
and jurisdiction of a penal system, or any facility in which a person may be
confined. This also includes hospitals, institutions, and halfway houses that
are used as a place of confinement. A person under a sentence of confinement
to any of these facilities is considered confined even though he or she may go
outside the facility to work, attend school, or for some other reason.
Note: A prisoner who is released on parole or because the sentence has ended or has been suspended or
overturned, is no longer considered to be confined or imprisoned.
- Full Retirement Age - The age at which you can receive a full Tier I
benefit, unreduced for early retirement. The following chart details
full retirement age.
|1-2-1938 thru 1-1-1939
||65 and 2 months
|1-2-1939 thru 1-1-1940
||65 and 4 months
|1-2-1940 thru 1-1-1941
||65 and 6 months
|1-2-1941 thru 1-1-1942
||65 and 8 months
|1-2-1942 thru 1-1-1943
||65 and 10 months
|1-2-1943 thru 1-1-1955
|1-2-1955 thru 1-1-1956
||66 and 2 months
|1-2-1956 thru 1-1-1957
||66 and 4 months
|1-2-1957 thru 1-1-1958
||66 and 6 months
|1-2-1958 thru 1-1-1959
||66 and 8 months
|1-2-1959 thru 1-1-1960
||66 and 10 months
|1-2-1960 and later
- Medical Recovery - A person has medically recovered from disability if,
based on medical evidence or demonstration by the individual, it is determined
that the individual is able to return to regular work, substantial gainful
work, or work in the individual's regular railroad occupation or similar
occupation. Also see Regular Work and Substantial Gainful Work.
- Permanent Medical Condition - A permanent medical condition is a medically
determinable mental or physical condition or impairment which has lasted, or
is expected to last, for a continuous period of at least 12 months, or is
expected to result in death.
- Permanently Disabled - To be permanently disabled, you must have a
permanent medical condition that prevents you from working. Also see Permanent
Several unrelated conditions that are not considered severely disabling in
themselves can be combined and considered together to see if in this way they
You are considered unable to work if your condition prevents you from
performing basic work activities. These activities are those physical and/or
mental abilities and aptitudes required to do most jobs, such as:
You will not be considered permanently disabled if you fail to follow
treatment prescribed by your doctor that may restore your ability to work.
However, you will not be penalized if the reason you did not follow prescribed
treatment is acceptable to the RRB.
- walking, standing, sitting, lifting, pulling, pushing, reaching, carrying, or handling;
- seeing, hearing, and speaking;
- understanding, carrying out, and remembering simple instructions;
- using judgment;
- responding appropriately to supervision, co-workers, and usual work situations;
- dealing with changes in the work setting.
- Regular Railroad Occupation -
Your regular occupation is the one in which you worked in more months in the
last 5 years before your disability began than in any other occupation during
You may, instead, claim as your regular occupation the one in which you
worked in more than half of all the months you worked in the last 15 years
before your disability began.
To be disabled for all work in your regular railroad occupation means that
your condition prevents you from working in your regular job, although you may
be able to do other kinds of work.
- Regular Work -
Regular work is the performance of the full range of material and substantial
duties of any regular and gainful employment with any employer. Substantial
duties are those that involve significant mental or physical activity even if
they are only done part-time. Gainful employment is work that is done for pay
or profit, or is the kind that is usually done for pay or profit even if no
profit is realized. Also see Substantial Gainful Work.
- Substantial Gainful Work -
This is any work generally done for pay or profit that involves performing
significant physical or mental duties. Work may be considered substantial even
if it is done part-time. In evaluating work, consideration is given to job
duties, skill and experience required to do the job, in addition to pay.
Although current work may pay less or may be different from previous work, a
person may not necessarily be considered disabled. Also see Regular Work.
- Trial Work Period - If
you work after your disability benefits begin, you may receive a trial work
period during which you may test, without penalty, your ability to work. A
trial work period may last 9 months (not necessarily consecutive), in a
60-month period. In some cases, the trial work period can be extended. After
the trial work period, we will decide whether you are still disabled.
You cannot qualify for a trial work period if you have medically recovered. Also see Medical Recovery.
All of the rules for determining if you qualify for a trial work period are not covered in this booklet due to their complexity. If you have any questions
about them, contact the nearest field office of the RRB.
- Impairment Related Work Expenses -These are
special expenses you paid for items or services you needed in order to work
(for example, attendance care, medical devices, equipment, prosthesis , or
similar items or services). These expenses may be deductible from your monthly
Examples of expenses that would not be covered include: cost of a vehicle
whether modified or not, routine physical examinations, allergy treatments,
dental examinations, and opticians' services.
If you wish to deduct such expenses from your earnings, please contact the
nearest office of the RRB.
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