You must have a Current Connection with the railroad industry in order to receive a supplemental annuity or an occupational disability annuity. Future survivor benefits can be paid by the RRB only if you have a Current Connection. The RRB will determine whether or not you have a Current Connection when your annuity application is processed.
Requirements for Regular Current Connection
You have a regular Current Connection with the railroad industry if you meet either of the following conditions:
- you worked for a railroad in at least 12 of the 30 consecutive months before the month in which your annuity begins; or,
- you worked in the railroad industry in at least 12 months in any other period of 30 consecutive months before the month your annuity begins without any intervening regular employment.
Work That Will Not Break Current Connection
The following types of work do not break a Current Connection:
- Work for the following government agencies will not break your Current Connection:
- Alaska Railroad (as long as it is owned by the State of Alaska);
- U.S. Department of Transportation;
- Surface Transportation Board (or its predecessor the Interstate Commerce Commission);
- National Mediation Board;
- National Transportation Safety Board; or,
- Railroad Retirement Board.
- Service for a railroad whose principal operation is in Canada and service by a Canadian citizen in Canada for a railroad whose principal operation is in the United States.
- Self-employment as defined under the Railroad Retirement Act.
- Nonrailroad work after your annuity beginning date.
Deemed Current Connection
If you do not have a regular Current Connection, you may have a Deemed Current Connection for a supplemental annuity or future benefits payable to your survivors. Your Current Connection is deemed to be maintained, even if you have regular nonrailroad employment before your annuity begins, if you:
- have at least 25 years of railroad service; and,
- either stopped working in the railroad industry "involuntarily and without fault" for a non-medical reason on, or after, October 1, 1975, or, were on furlough or leave of absence or were absent because of injury on or after October 1, 1975, and were not called back to work; and,
- did not decline an offer to return to railroad employment in the same "class or craft" as your most recent railroad service (regardless of the number of miles you would have had to move to accept such job).
NOTE: An employee cannot be on furlough, leave of absence, or absent because of injury status after relinquishment of rights to railroad service.
If you meet all the above requirements, your Current Connection would not be broken, even if you work in regular employment after your 30-month period and before retirement or death.
Proof of Deemed Current Connection
RRB records will confirm if you have 25 years of service.
You must supply the proof that you did not voluntarily end your railroad employment. The best evidence is the letter from your employer that describes the circumstances of your separation. Other acceptable proofs are personnel, payroll, and health insurance records that show your employment status. If none of these documents exist when your application is filed, it will be necessary for you to secure an affidavit from a railroad or union official or from two of your former co-workers who can be identified by the RRB as railroad employees.