DI 11050.030 Screening for Eligibility
For information about when to take a career RR employee disability application, see General Application Taking Practices, GN 00201.005D.4.a. and Interaction Between Applications Filed with SSA and RRB, RS 01601.230.
In addition to normal screening procedures (DIB, RIB, AUXSPO, SURSPO, etc.), be alert to the following situations.
A. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) benefits
If RR employment is involved, search for pertinent information in the appropriate systems and queries. If a NH has 120 or more RR service months, (or 60 or more months after December 31, 1995), the employee may be completely or partially insured for RRB benefits. Be aware of the following when advising claimant:
A Social Security application filed for survivor benefits or the Lump Sum Death Payment (LSDP) is an application for RR benefits if there is RR involvement. Therefore, the filing date is protected with the RRB. The claimant may not restrict the Social Security application since only one agency, as determined by RRB, can have jurisdiction of the survivor claim.
If current claim is not a survivor claim, the filing date with Social Security does not protect filing with RRB.
NOTE: Before 1975, a Social Security life claim application established protective filing for a RR annuity (see Interaction Between Applications Filed with SSA and RRB, RS 01601.230).
Take the following actions if an allegedly disabled claimant meets the minimum RR service requirements in Insured Status Under the Railroad Retirement Act, RS 01601.110.
1. Claimant Has Not Filed an Application with the RRB
Instruct the claimant to contact the local RRB office for information about programs administered by the RRB, and for specific information about eligibility, claims, and changes in the law. The claimant should inform RRB that they have filed an application with SSA.
If the SSA application is not a claim on the record of a deceased RR worker, advise the claimant to contact RRB right away if he or she is considering filing a claim for RR benefits as their filing date with Social Security does not protect their filing with RRB.
RRB offices are located in major cities and representatives regularly visit many other locations.
RRB offices are open to the public Monday through Friday, except on Federal holidays.
To locate the nearest RRB office, call the automated “toll-free” help line at 1-800-808-0772, or access the RRB’s Internet website at http://www.rrb.gov .
RRB contact information is also available in the telephone directory under “United States Government.”
The claimant may also check with a local union representative, railroad employer, post office, or the nearest Federal Information Center.
2. Claimant Has Not Filed an Application with Either SSA or RRB
Advise the claimant by letter (see Sample Letter Referring NH to Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), DI 11050.070) to contact RRB and file a claim for a disability annuity, provided:
NOTE: If the claimant desires a formal disability determination about his or her status under the Social Security Act, or, if it appears NH is insured for disability benefits, take an SSA application for disability benefits.
3. Claimant Has Filed an SSA Application but Was Not Referred to RRB
If the claimant was not referred to the RRB during the initial interview because of an oversight or because the NH alleged less than the required RR service, advise the claimant by letter to contact a local RRB office.
Pattern the notice after the example letter in Sample Letter Referring NH to Railroad Retirement Board (RRB), DI 11050.070.
B. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
Always screen for SSI eligibility, especially if a DIB claim is not filed and the claimant is referred to the RRB.
Is the claimant only filing for Title XVI benefits because he is not insured for cash DIB benefits with SSA? If yes, and the claimant meets the freeze insured status requirements using a combination of SSA and RRB earnings per RS 00301.130 through RS 00301.132, then the FO also takes an application for DIB restricted to Title II disability freeze. This eliminates the need for Great Lakes Program Service Center-Disability Processing Branch (GLPSC-DPB) to make a separate Joint Freeze determination with RRB at a later date.
C. Retirement (RIB) or Spouse (AUXSPO or SURSPO) Benefits
If you are taking a claim, or if a DIB or freeze claim is pending, consider paying reduced benefits while waiting for the disability determination.