A new benefit year under the Railroad
Unemployment Insurance Act begins July 1, 2012. The maximum daily benefit rate
payable for claims under this Act remains at $66 in the new benefit year.
Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness
over four in 14-day registration periods, so maximum benefits for biweekly
claims will continue to total $660.
During the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are payable for
each day of unemployment or sickness in excess of seven, rather than four,
which, in effect, provides a one-week waiting period. Initial sickness claims
must also begin with four consecutive days of sickness. However, only one
waiting period is required during any period of continuing unemployment or
sickness, even if that period continues into a subsequent benefit year.
Claimants already on the rolls will, therefore, normally not be required to
serve another waiting period because of the onset of the new benefit year.
To qualify for normal railroad unemployment or sickness benefits in the benefit
year beginning July 1, 2012, an employee must have had railroad earnings of at
least $3,325 in calendar year 2011, counting no more than $1,330 for any month.
Those who were first employed in the rail industry in 2011 must also have at
least five months of creditable railroad service in that year.
Under certain conditions, employees with at least 10 years of service who do not qualify in the new benefit year
on the basis of their 2011 earnings may still be able to receive benefits after
June 30, 2012. For example, such employees who received normal benefits in the benefit year ending
June 30, 2012, might still be eligible for extended benefits. In addition, ten-year employees
may be eligible for accelerated benefits if they have rail earnings of at least
$3,412.50 in 2012, not counting earnings of more than $1,365 a month.
Application forms for unemployment and sickness benefits may be obtained from
railroad employers, railroad labor organizations, any Railroad Retirement Board
(RRB) office, or the agency's website at
www.rrb.gov. Also, as an
alternative to applying for unemployment benefits through the mail, rail workers
can file applications and subsequent claims for unemployment benefits online.
Similarly, they can file claims for sickness benefits online, although the
original application must still be submitted by mail. Employees can also
access information about their individual railroad unemployment insurance
account statements online. These account statements provide a summary of
the unemployment and sickness benefits paid under the Railroad Unemployment
Insurance Act to rail employees.
To access these online services, employees
must first establish an RRB Internet Services account. For security
purposes, first-time users must apply for a Password Request Code, which they
will receive by regular mail in about 10 business days. To do this,
employees should click on the link for requesting a Password Request Code (PRC)
in the Benefit Online Services Login section of the
home page. Once employees establish their online accounts, they will be
able to file their applications and biweekly claims for unemployment benefits as
well as conduct other business with the RRB over the Internet. Employees
are encouraged to initiate an online account while still employed so the account
is established if they ever need to use these or other select RRB Internet
services. Employees who have already established online accounts do not
need to do so again.
Claimants with questions about unemployment or sickness benefits should contact
an RRB office by calling toll free at 1-877-772-5772. Claimants can also find
the address of the RRB office servicing their area and get information about
their claims and benefit payments by calling this toll-free number. Most RRB
offices are open to the public from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through
Friday, except on Federal holidays. Field office locations can also be found
online at www.rrb.gov.
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