RRB Short Term Disability
The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act provides benefits for railroad employees when you are unable to work because of illness or injury. Sickness benefits are also payable to female employees unable to work because of pregnancy, miscarriage, or childbirth.
Benefit payments are based on biweekly claims filed with the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), the Federal agency responsible for administering the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act.
The funds to pay unemployment and sickness benefits are provided by payroll taxes on railroad employers only. Employees do not pay unemployment insurance taxes.
The following describes the requirements for railroad sickness benefits, the amounts payable, and how to claim them.
Qualifying for Benefits
A new benefit year for unemployment and sickness benefits begins every July 1st. To qualify in the benefit year beginning July 1, 2018 you must have base year earnings of $3,862.50 in calendar year 2017, counting no more than $1,545 per month. If 2017 was your first year of railroad service, you must also have worked in 5 months of that year.
You may still be able to receive benefits in the new benefit year if you do not qualify based on 2017 earnings. Employees with at least 10 years of service who received normal benefits during the prior benefit year ending June 30, 2018, may be eligible for extended benefits. Employees with at least 10 years of service and rail earnings of at least $3,862.50 in 2018, not counting earnings of more than $1,545 a month, may also qualify for accelerated benefits.
The maximum daily benefit rate payable in the benefit year beginning July 1, 2018 is $77 and, for biweekly claims, maximum benefits can total $770. Due to a sequestration order under the Budget Control Act of 2011, the RRB will reduce unemployment and sickness benefits by 6.6 percent through September 30, 2018. The maximum amount payable for sickness benefits subject to tier I payroll taxes of 7.65 percent will be $664.16 over two weeks.
Registration and Waiting Period
Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over 4 in 14-day registration periods. Initial sickness claims must also begin with 4 consecutive days of sickness. However, during the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are only payable for each day of unemployment or sickness in excess of 7 which, in effect, provides a 1-week waiting period. Separate waiting periods are required for unemployment and sickness benefits. However, only one 7-day waiting period is required during any period of continuing unemployment or sickness, even if that period continues into a subsequent benefit year.
Note – Sickness benefits payable for the first 6 months after the month the employee last worked are subject to tier I railroad retirement payroll taxes, unless benefits are being paid for an on-the-job injury.
More information is available by visiting the RRB’s web site, www.rrb.gov, or by calling an RRB office toll-free at 1-877-772-5772. Persons can find the address of the RRB office servicing their area by calling the agency’s toll-free number or at www.rrb.gov.