TN 6 (05-02)
RS 01601.230 Interaction Between Applications Filed with SSA and RRB
A. Policy - general when an RRB application is a claim for SS benefits
1. RRB applications filed after 10/15/74
A RRB application filed for an annuity with RRB is an application for any SS benefit. The claimant may restrict the RRB application to RRB benefits only.
See RS 01602.620, RRB notice of protective filing.
A RRB lump-sum application will not by itself protect the filing date for SS benefits. If it were used to protect the filing date for an annuity application, the latter would protect the SS benefit filing date, as of the date of the lump-sum application.
2. RRB annuity applications filed prior to 10/16/74
An application filed with RRB will be deemed to be an application under title II of the SS Act when it falls in one of the following categories:
Any survivor application for an annuity or LSDP filed with RRB on or after 10/01/46; or
Any application for a retirement or disability annuity filed with RRB on or after 08/01/51 by an individual having less than 120 months of creditable RR service.
Also, an application for a disability annuity filed with RRB is deemed to be a freeze application filed with RRB and with SSA as of the same date, except that if it was filed with RRB before 09/07/58, it is deemed to be a freeze application filed after 12/54 and before 07/58.
B. Policy - when an RRB application is not a claim for SS benefits
RRB also administers the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act (RUIA). Applications for unemployment or sickness benefits, under RUIA do not protect filing dates for SS benefit claims (RS 01601.170).
C. Policy - when an SSA application is an RRB claim
Before 1975, a SS life claims application established protective filing for a RR annuity.
A SS application filed for life benefits after 1974 is not usually considered a protective filing or an application for a RR annuity. Inform the claimant that he/she should not delay contacting RRB if he/she is considering filing a claim for RR benefits.
A SS application filed for survivor benefits or for the LSDP is an application for RR benefits if there is RR involvement. The claimant may not restrict the SS application since only one agency, as determined by RRB, can have jurisdiction of the survivor claim.
D. Policy - the effect of filing for both SS and RR benefits
1. Effect on SS benefits
a. Life cases
If the wage earner has 120 or more months of RR service or effective 01/01/2002, has less than 120 months of RR service but has at least 60 months of RR service after December 31, 1995 at the time of filing for SS benefits, then the SS benefit claim will be adjudicated without the use of RR service.
If the wage earner has less than 120 months of RR compensation and less than 60 months of RR compensation after December 31, 1995, then the RR service will be treated as wages and used by SSA for insured status and benefit computation purposes.
If the wage earner acquires his/her 120th month of RR service or effective 1/01/2002, has less than 120 months of RR service but has acquired at least 60 months of RR service after December 31, 1995 after becoming entitled to SS benefits on his/her own account number, the RR compensation can no longer be used by SSA for insured status and benefit computation purposes. Benefits for months prior to the month of attaining the 120th month or effective 01/01/2002, the benefits for months prior to the month attaining the 60th month of RR compensation would not be incorrect. The effect on SS benefits as of the month of acquiring the 120th or effective 01/01/2002, as of the month acquiring the 60th month of RR service would occur even if the person did not file for RR benefits. Establishment of a RR annuity will usually more than offset any loss of SS benefits due to the transfer of the RR compensation to RRB.
b. Survivor claims
Only one agency, SSA or RRB will pay survivor benefits on the account of a deceased RR worker. RRB will determine which agency has jurisdiction to adjudicate the survivor claim. When the RRB determines that SSA has jurisdiction, SSA usually certifies the payment of the survivor annuity. In some instances, the RRB will certify payments although SSA has jurisdiction of the claim. However, if RRB has jurisdiction of the claim, then RRB will certify the payment. For more information on jurisdiction determinations, see RS 01601.300. For more information on the certification of payments, see RS 01601.310.
If the survivor is receiving a RR annuity, then there could be an adverse effect on total benefits received if the survivor files for a SS benefit on a different account and works or expects to work enough to incur work deductions. We would apply work deductions against both the RR and the SS benefits. The claimant should seek information from RRB on the effect of work deductions in such a case.
2. Effect on RR benefits
a. Life benefits
An application for SS benefits by a RR annuitant will usually result in no change in total benefits payable. The SS benefit will be certified to RRB, and RRB will adjust the RR annuity and certify the RR annuity/SS benefit to Treasury. The result is the original amount of the RR check is usually unchanged.
If there are dependents for whom no life benefit category exists under the RR Act (i.e., child), application for and awarding of SS benefits usually results in an increase in the total benefits received from both agencies.
b. Survivors benefits
(See RS 01601.230D.l.b.)