Relinquishment of rights is when an applicant relinquishes all seniority or other rights he or she may have to return to work for any railroad employer. 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 the employee stops working.
In order to receive an annuity, an age and service annuitant must relinquish his or her rights to return to railroad work, however, a disability annuitant is not required to do so in order to receive a disability annuity.
A supplemental annuity is not payable to a disabled annuitant nor is a spouse annuity payable to the spouse of a disabled annuitant unless the annuitant has relinquished his or her rights to return to work for a railroad employer. To address this requirement, a disability annuitant who files a Form AA-1d, Application for Determination of Employee's Disability, authorizes the RRB to automatically relinquish his or her rights at the appropriate time - either at attainment of FRA or before attaining FRA when:
- the disabled annuitant becomes eligible for a supplemental annuity, or,
- the spouse of the disability annuitant becomes eligible for a spouse annuity; or,
- the disability annuity is denied, the employee is eligible for a reduced age annuity, and the employee indicates on the Form AA-1, Application for Employee Annuity, that he or she would accept a reduced age and service annuity.
If the applicant for a disability annuity, or a disabled annuitant, does not want the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) to automatically relinquish his or her rights, then he or she must submit a written statement revoking the RRB's authority to do so. Such revocation must be received by the RRB before the automatic relinquishment of rights is triggered by the occurrence of one of the above events.