You may qualify for a monthly age and service employee annuity if you meet certain requirements. This section describes types of age and service annuities and the different conditions for each.
If you are filing for a disability annuity, you should also refer to booklet RB-1D, "Employee Disability Benefits" which explains disability annuity requirements. However, if your disability annuity is denied, and you indicate that you would accept a reduced age annuity, if eligible, read about the reduced age and service annuity.
The RRB considers you to have attained your age on the day before your birthday. The age at which you can receive an age and service annuity is based on your months of railroad service:
|Determining Earliest Retirement Age
|If you have at least:
||Your annuity can begin the first full month you are:
|360 months of railroad service
|120-359 months of railroad service
|60-119 months of railroad service with at least 60 months of railroad service after 1995
Note: The age requirements for a supplemental annuity are here.
Cessation of Railroad Service
Your age and service annuity cannot begin until you stop all railroad work for pay and relinquish rights to railroad employment. Also note that, after the annuity is awarded, payment cannot be made for any month in which you return to work for a railroad employer.
The RRB will release a Form G-88A.1, "Request for Verification of Date Last Carried on Payroll" to your last railroad employer if your date last worked is within 15 months of the date that you file your employee annuity application. This will notify your employer of your claimed date last worked and relinquishment of rights.
Relinquishment of Rights
Before an age and service annuity can be paid, you must relinquish all seniority or other rights to return to work for any railroad employer. While an age and service annuity can begin to accrue as early as the day after you stop working for the railroad, it cannot be awarded until you relinquish rights to railroad employment.
Example: A qualified age and service applicant, who stops working on December 31, but does not relinquish rights until March 15, is entitled to an annuity from January 1. Although benefits accrue from January 1, the actual payment cannot be made before March 15, the day relinquishment of rights is accomplished.
The relinquishment of rights only affects the benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act (RRA). The relinquishment of rights does not bind the railroad should the employer choose to provide certain employee benefits (i.e., health insurance, an employee buyout) after you stop working.
- How Relinquishment of Rights is Accomplished
To relinquish your rights to railroad employment, use your employee annuity application. Indicate that you either no longer have seniority or other rights to work for a railroad employer or, if you are filing in advance of your annuity beginning date, that you will give up those rights as of the date indicated as your last day of railroad employment.
Under advance filing procedure, you may file for an age and service annuity up to three months before your annuity beginning date. If you are still working in railroad service when you file, this means that the date that you certify on your annuity application as the date you will stop railroad service and relinquish rights is a date in the future. If your plans change, you must promptly report any change in your last day of railroad service to the nearest RRB field office. Otherwise, your annuity beginning date could be incorrect, resulting in erroneous payments.
- Relinquishment of Rights In Wrongful Termination Cases
If you are prosecuting a claim before the National Railroad Adjustment Board for reinstatement and for time lost from the effective date of a termination action that you believe is wrongful, you must ask the RRB field office to include the following statement over your signature in the "Remarks" section of your employee annuity application: "I do not at this time possess any rights to return to the service of an employer. This statement shall be without prejudice to my claim that I was wrongfully deprived of such rights on (date of termination).
You must also request the RRB field office to prepare an "Assignment of Claim" statement for your signature. This states that you will refund any annuity payments you receive for any period for which you may subsequently be awarded pay for time lost.
- Protest of Relinquishment of Rights
Once effective, you cannot revoke the relinquishment of rights, even if you offer to refund the amount of the RRA annuities that were paid based on the relinquishment of rights.
Additional Requirements for Employee Annuities Based on 60-119 Months of Railroad Service with at Least 60 Months of Railroad Service after 1995
If you file for an employee disability annuity that is based on 60-119 months of railroad service with at least 60 months of railroad service after 1995, a tier 2 component is not payable to you before the month in which you attain age 62. For age and service and disability annuities, you must have a Social Security Act (SS Act) Insured Status based on combined railroad earnings, creditable military service earnings, and social security earnings to qualify yourself and your spouse for Tier 1 components.
An SS Act Insured Status is based on Quarters of Coverage (QC). In general, the SS Act specifies an amount for each calendar year that will qualify the wage earner for a QC for that year. If you earn that amount (or a multiple of that amount up to 4 QCs, your earnings record will be credited with those QCs.
You have an SS Act Insured Status if:
- Employee Annuities Based on Age - You must have a Fully Insured Status as defined in the SS Act, but using combined railroad earnings, creditable military service earnings, and social security earnings. The SS Act QC requirement for a Fully Insured Status for employees born after 1928 is 40 QCs; or;
- Employee Annuities Based on Disability - You must have a Disability Freeze (D/F) as defined in the SS Act, but using combined railroad earnings, creditable military service earnings, and social security earnings. The SS Act requirements are:
- You must be rated totally and permanently disabled;
- You must have a Fully Insured Status (Generally, the QC requirement for a Fully Insured Status is at least one QC for each calendar year after the year you attained age 21, through the year you became disabled.) and,
- You must have at least 20 QCs in a period of 40 consecutive calendar quarters (10 years) ending with the quarter of the disability onset date. This is also referred to as the 20-in-40 QC test.