You must file an application to receive a railroad retirement total and permanent disability annuity. Under the law, a disability annuity cannot begin earlier than the first day of the sixth full month following the month in which disability onset occurs.
You may be eligible for a tier I component based on total disability at any age if you:
- are Permanently Disabled for all possible types of work. Employees are considered to be Permanently Disabled if they qualify for a Disability Freeze under SSA rules and the impairment is expected to last at least 12 months or result in death . (See Booklet RB-1D Employee Disability Benefits for an explanation of a Disability Freeze. The Disability Freeze cannot be deemed.) ; and,
- have stopped any Substantial Gainful Activity ; and,
- meet the railroad service requirement. You must either:
- have at least 120 months of creditable railroad service; or,
- have at least 60 months of creditable railroad service after 1995.
If you have at least 120 months of creditable railroad service, both your tier I and tier II components can begin on your annuity beginning date. If you have less than 120 months of creditable railroad service, your tier I component can begin on your annuity beginning date, but your tier II component cannot begin until the first full month you are age 62.