To receive unemployment benefits you must:
- be unemployed and receive no wages, salary, military reservist pay, pay for time lost, vacation pay, holiday pay, guarantee pay, or other remuneration from railroad or non-railroad employment for the days you claim benefits. Under certain conditions, part-time work does not affect entitlement to benefits. However, you must report all full-time and part-time work you perform to the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) on each claim for benefits you file. The RRB will then determine whether your pay is "subsidiary remuneration" and whether benefits are payable for days on which you worked part-time. Contact your local RRB office for additional guidance on the effects of part-time work.
- be able to work. You must not be sick or injured.
- be ready and willing to work. If you do not have good prospects of returning to work soon, you must be looking for work. You may be called in for an interview and asked where you have looked for work. An RRB representative may also suggest places for you to apply for work. If you are looking for work, use the form on page 11 to record your efforts to find work.
- pass the earnings test for each claim. Your total earnings in the claim period must not exceed the monthly compensation base for the calendar year (base year) that precedes the benefit year (begins July 1). Earnings include pay from railroad, non-railroad, part-time, and self-employment. Earnings also include pay that you would have earned except for your failure to mark up or report for duty on time, or because you missed a turn in pool service or were otherwise not ready or willing to work.
Earnings do not include payments you receive during the claim period that are for days outside the claim period. All earnings for a work shift are attributable to the day the shift begins. The earnings test amount increases with each benefit year.
Example A: An employee works 6 days in the period December 13 through 26, 2011 and receives holiday pay for December 25. The gross earnings and holiday pay total $1,350.00. Because $1,350.00 exceeds the 2011 monthly compensation base of $1,330.00, no benefits are payable for the claim period.
Example B: An employee has total gross earnings of $1,000 from 4 days of work and 2 days of vacation pay in the period October 1 through 14, 2011. During the period, the employee also missed a turn in pool service for which $400 would have been earned. No benefits are payable for the claim period because the actual earnings of $1,000 plus the earnings that would have come from the missed turn in pool service total $1,400.00. This is more than the 2010 monthly compensation base of $1,330.00.
- obtain an application for unemployment benefits from your employer, labor organization, the RRB, or complete online at www.rrb.gov.
- complete and file the application for unemployment benefits during your first 30 days of unemployment. You may lose benefits if you file late. An application is considered filed on the day it is received by the RRB. If you claimed benefits earlier in the benefit year, stopped claiming, and now want to claim benefits again, you must request a claim form from your local RRB office within 30 days. Only one application is required in each benefit year.
- file online at www.rrb.gov or mail the completed application to the RRB district office serving your area. After your application is processed, your first unemployment claim will be mailed to you for completion.