RRB Short Term Disability

Updated – 10/04/12

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 1. To qualify in the benefit year beginning July 1, 2012, you must have base year earnings of $3,325 in calendar year 2011, counting no more than $1,330 per month. In the benefit year beginning July 1, 2013, these amounts will increase to $3,412.50 and $1,365, although they will then refer to annual and monthly earnings in calendar year 2012. If the base year was your first year of railroad service, you must also have worked in 5 months of that year.

Benefit Payment

The maximum daily benefit rate payable in the benefit year beginning July 2012 is $66 and, for biweekly claims, maximum benefits can total $660. The daily benefit rate will increase to $68 in July 2013, and may increase in future benefit years depending on the growth in average national wages.

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.