Proof of Military Service
If you ever served in active duty in the United States Armed Forces, the RRB may be able to use that military service to increase your annuity. You must first submit a copy of your latest Department of Defense Form 214, or any official record that shows your dates of federal military service.
Shorten the processing time of your future benefit application by submitting proof of your military service now. When sending documents to the RRB, always include your name, your social security number and a daytime telephone number where you can be reached.
If your military service records were destroyed, either in the 1973 fire in the National Records Center at St. Louis, or in some other way, you may request a new military service record with Form SF-180, Request Pertaining to Military Records. This form is available from the RRB or in the Research Room at US National Archives and Records Administration.
Basic Requirements Under the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA)
The Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) allows credit for military service that began in a war period or period of national emergency and for involuntary (draft) military service. This prevents career railroad employees from losing retirement credits while actively serving in the national defense. To receive credit for military service, you must always meet one of the general railroad service requirements of Section 1 below and must meet one of the specific requirements in Section 2, Section 3, or Section 4 which follow.
- General Requirements under RRA - The RRA allows credit for military service as railroad service months only if, prior to the beginning of your military service either in the same calendar year or in the next preceding calendar year, as the enlistment, induction or call from inactive duty, you:
- performed compensated service for an employer under the RRA;
- were entitled to Pay for Time Lost as an employee for an employer under the RRA; or,
- were serving as an employee representative as defined in the RRA.
- Involuntary Military Service and Periods Of Creditable Voluntary Military Service - Involuntary military service is always creditable under the RRA. In addition, voluntary military service that began in the following war periods or periods of national emergency are creditable:
- September 8, 1939 through June 14, 1948 (If you voluntarily entered military service January 1, 1947 through June 14, 1948, you can only receive credit through June 14, 1948);
- June 15, 1948 through December 15, 1950, provided the additional requirements described in Section 3 are met;
- December 16, 1950 through September 14, 1978 (but any voluntary active duty extending beyond September 14, 1978, is not creditable); and,
- August 2, 1990 to a date not yet determined.
- In addition to these war periods or periods of national emergency, some active duty in the federal military reserve may be creditable as explained in Section 4 below.
- Voluntary Military Service in the Period June 15, 1948, through December 15, 1950 - Railroad workers who voluntarily served in the Armed Forces between June 15, 1948 and December 15, 1950, can be given railroad service credit for their military service. In addition to the requirement of railroad service prior to entering active military service described in Section 1 above, the RRA allows credit for voluntary active military service in the period June 15, 1948, through December 15, 1950, if you:
- performed compensated service for an employer under the RRA in the year released from active military service or in the next year; and,
- did not work for a nonrailroad employer after leaving military service and before resuming railroad employment.
- Creditable Military Reserve Duty - Members of a reserve component of the uniformed services who are called to active duty can receive railroad service credits for any such active duty or active duty for training, provided that one of the requirements described in Section 1 above was met as of the date called up.
Basic Requirements Under the Social Security Act Rules
Since most military service performed after 1956 is creditable under the SS Act, the wage credits are posted to your SS Act wage record. The few cases in which military service is not creditable under the SS Act involve military service performed before 1957 that was either less than 90 days or that had a type of discharge other than honorable.
When military service is used as railroad service months in your Tier 2 component, the SS Act prohibits the use of the same military service as wages.
Affect in Your Annuity Rate
- Tier 1 Component - Military service creditable under the RRA or SS Act can be used to increase the yearly earnings amounts used in the computation of your Tier 1 component, subject to the yearly earnings maximum. This is true even when the same military service is used as railroad service months in your Tier 2 component.
If you qualified for an annuity based on 60-119 months of railroad service with at least 60 months of railroad service after 1995, military service creditable under the RRA or SSA can be used as compensation Quarters of Coverage to meet the total minimum 40 QCs necessary for the SSA Insured Status requirement for a Tier 1 component. This is true even when the same military service is used as railroad service months in your Tier 2 component.
- Tier 2 Component and Supplemental Annuity - Military service creditable under the RRA can be used as railroad service months in the computation of your Tier 2 component or supplemental annuity. However, only one railroad service credit is allowed for a calendar month. If you have actual railroad service in the same month as the military service, only one railroad service credit is given for that month.
- Vested Dual Benefit (VDB) - If you have at least 120 months of railroad service before 1975 and acquired an SSA insured status before 1975, you can receive an additional annuity component called the Vested Dual Benefit (VDB). Military service performed before 1975, creditable under SS Act rules, can be used as wages and wage Quarters of Coverage before 1975, to help meet the â€œwages onlyâ€ requirements for a VDB. However, when military service is used as railroad service months in your Tier 2 component, the SS Act prohibits the use of military service as wage Quarters of Coverage for a VDB.