Unemployment Benefits for Railroad Employees
To receive unemployment benefits you must:
- be unemployed and receive no wages, salary, military reservist pay, pay
for time lost, vacation pay, holiday pay, guarantee pay, or other
remuneration from railroad or non-railroad employment for the days you
claim benefits. Under certain conditions, part-time work
affect entitlement to benefits. However, you must report all full-time
and part-time work you perform to the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
on each claim for benefits you file. The RRB will then determine
whether your pay is "subsidiary remuneration" and whether benefits are
payable for days on which you worked part-time. Contact your local RRB
office for additional guidance on the effects of part-time work.
- be able to work. You must not be sick or injured.
- be ready and willing to work. If you do not have good prospects of
returning to work soon, you must be looking for work. You may be called
in for an interview and asked where you have looked for work. An RRB
representative may also suggest places for you to apply for work. If
you are looking for work, use the form on page 11 to record your
efforts to find work.
- pass the earnings test for each claim. Your total earnings in the claim
period must not exceed the monthly compensation base for the calendar
year (base year) that precedes the benefit year (begins July 1).
Earnings include pay from railroad, non-railroad, part-time, and
self-employment. 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.
Earnings do not include payments you receive during
the claim period that are for days outside the claim period. All
earnings for a work shift are attributable to the day the shift begins.
The earnings test amount increases with each benefit year.
Example A: An employee works 6 days in the period December 13 through
26, 2011 and receives holiday pay for December 25. The gross earnings
and holiday pay total $1,350.00. Because $1,350.00 exceeds the 2011
monthly compensation base of $1,330.00, no benefits are payable for the
Example B: An employee has total gross earnings of $1,000 from 4 days of
work and 2 days of vacation pay in the period October 1 through 14,
2011. During the period, the employee also missed a turn in pool
service for which $400 would have been earned. No benefits are payable
for the claim period because the actual earnings of $1,000 plus the
earnings that would have come from the missed turn in pool service
total $1,400.00. This is more than the 2010 monthly compensation base
- obtain an application for unemployment benefits
from your employer,
labor organization, the RRB, or complete online at
- complete and file the application for
unemployment benefits during your
first 30 days of unemployment. You may lose benefits if you file late.
An application is considered filed on the day it is received by the RRB. If you claimed benefits earlier in the benefit year, stopped
claiming, and now want to claim benefits again, you must request a
claim form from your local RRB office within 30 days. Only one
application is required in each benefit year.
- file online at
www.rrb.gov or mail the completed application
to the RRB
district office serving your area. After your application is processed,
your first unemployment claim will be mailed to you for completion.
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In order to establish your eligibility for
benefits and to explain your rights and responsibilities in claiming
benefits, you may be required to personally report to a Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) representative for an interview. The RRB
representative will also answer any questions you may have about your
The RRB's authority for conducting such interviews is contained in the
Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act. Failure to report for an interview
could result in a loss of benefits for 30 days if you do not have a
good reason for failing to report.
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