Retirement annuities are not payable by the RRB unless the employee has 5 years of creditable service after 1995 or 10 years of service at any time. Service includes any creditable military service.
Survivor annuities are not payable unless the employee had a current connection with the railroad industry and either 5 years of creditable service after 1995 or 10 years of service at any time.
In either of the above circumstances, if the requirements are not met, the employee's railroad retirement credits are transferred to the Social Security Administration and treated as social security credits. Benefits paid by that agency would accordingly take into account both railroad and social security covered earnings.
The Railroad Retirement Act does not allow a former railroad employee to withdraw his or her retirement taxes. Like social security taxes, railroad retirement taxes are not refundable unless retirement tax withholding has exceeded annual maximums.