File Form HA-1
To begin the appeals process, file an Appeal Under the Railroad Retirement Act or the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (Form HA-1). You will be notified when your appeal has been received. This usually happens within 2 to 3 weeks after you have mailed the appeal. If you are not notified, contact the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals to find out if your appeal was received. You can contact us by mail or telephone.
- Bureau of Hearings and Appeals
Railroad Retirement Board
844 North Rush Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611-1275
- Telephone: 312-751-4791.
Assigned to a Hearings Officer
The appeal is then docketed and assigned to a hearings officer who will decide whether or not the appeal is granted. Appeals are generally handled in the order that they are received. The hearings officer will review your appeal and determine if additional evidence is needed to make a decision. Should more evidence be necessary, you will be contacted by mail and advised what evidence is required and how it can be obtained. Any additional evidence should be submitted to the hearings officer as soon as possible.
Appeals Hearing Scheduled
If, after examining all the available evidence, a decision cannot be made, a hearing will be scheduled for your appeal. It is the hearings officer's responsibility to arrange for the hearing which will be held at a location near your home.
During an appeals hearing, the hearings officer asks the appellant questions that are related to his or her appeal. Some appellants choose to hire an attorney to represent them at these hearings. Appellants can hire legal representation at any point during the appeals process. If the appellant has an attorney, the attorney may also question the appellant. Any witnesses who have been called to testify, such as vocational experts, are then questioned by the hearings officer and the appellant and/or the attorney. The hearing ends with the appellant and/or the attorney making a final statement if desired.
After the hearing, the hearings officer will consider all of the evidence, including the testimony provided at the hearing. The hearings officer will then issue a decision, usually within 60 days of the date of the hearing. Whether a hearing is required or not, a decision is normally issued within 215 days (7 months) of when the appeal is filed. Favorable decisions, whether made with or without a hearing, are forwarded to an adjudication unit for payment. If a decision is unfavorable, you will be told how to contest the ruling.
You should direct any questions about your appeal to your hearings officer.