Basic Service Requirement
The basic requirement for a regular employee annuity is 10 years (120 months) of creditable railroad service or 5 years (60 months) of creditable railroad service if such service was performed after 1995. Service months need not be consecutive, and, in some cases, military service may be counted as railroad service.
Credit for a month of railroad service is given for every month in which an employee had some compensated service for an employer covered by the Railroad Retirement Act, even if only one day's service is performed in the month. (However, local lodge compensation earned after 1974 is disregarded for any calendar month in which it is less than $25.) Under certain circumstances, additional months of service may be deemed.
Covered employers include railroads engaged in interstate commerce and some of their subsidiaries, railroad associations, and national railway labor organizations.
Railroad retirement benefits are based on months of service and earnings credits. Earnings are creditable up to certain annual maximums on the amount of compensation subject to railroad retirement taxes.