TN 80 (04-99)

SI 00830.225 Railroad Retirement Payments

Citations:

Social Security Act, as amended, section 1612(a)(2)(B);

20 CFR 416.1121(a), 416.1123(b)(1), and 416.1123(b)(2)

A. Introduction

1. Categories of Payment

There are three basic categories of payments made by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB):

  • Life and survivor annuities;

  • Title II benefits certified by RRB; and

  • Unemployment, sickness, and strike benefits.

2. Life and Survivor Annuities

  • Life annuities for retirement and disability are paid under the Railroad Retirement (RR) Act to the railroad employee and his/her spouse. Children of a living annuitant are not entitled to benefits.

    NOTE: An increase in a beneficiary's check because of a dependent child is unearned income to the designated RR beneficiary. This amount is not counted as the child's income for SSI purposes.

  • Survivor annuities are payable to widows, widowers, children, and dependent parents of railroad employees. A small number of widows receive two annuities, a regular widow's check and a check payable to them as designated survivors of retired railroad employees who elected to receive reduced benefits during their lifetimes.

  • RR annuity payments are similar to title II benefits in that a check for one month is paid the next month. Also, cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) for RR annuities are effective the same month as title II COLA's.

3. Social Security Benefits Certified by RRB

SSA may authorize the payment of title II benefits for RR employees to RRB instead of directly to Treasury. Although RRB in these situations has responsibility for certifying title II benefits to Treasury, they remain title II benefits.

Individuals entitled to this type of benefit receive two award notices. The first notice, from SSA, informs the beneficiary that RRB has responsibility for making title II payments. The final notice, from RRB, specifies the amount of the first check.

RR annuity payments and title II benefits certified by RRB may be paid as a single check. In these cases, RRB may issue an interim notice before the final notice which specifies the amount of the first check.

4. Unemployment, Sickness, and Strike Benefits

Unemployment, sickness, and strike benefits are computed on a daily basis with each check covering a period of up to 2 weeks. These claims are usually filed through the railroad employer or directly with RRB in Chicago.

B. Policy

1. Unearned Income

Payments made by RRB are unearned income.

2. Reduction of RR Benefits

The amount deducted from a RR benefit for supplementary medical insurance (SMI) premiums is unearned income. See SI 00830.110 if an overpayment is involved.

3. Chargeable RR Income

The amount of the RR annuity to charge as income is the amount before the collection of any obligations of the annuitant (unless the exception in SI 00830.110 applies).

C. Procedure - life and survivor annuities

1. General Development - All Cases

  1. Be alert to the possibility of the receipt of, or potential entitlement to, RR benefits in every case where:

    • the individual's social security number begins with a "7"

    • the individual alleges or other evidence indicates railroad employment by the individual or his/her spouse.

  2. Verify allegations of receipt of RR annuities by obtaining a copy of the individual's most recent award notice.

  3. If the notice is unavailable, record in the file (e.g., on a Report of Contact) the information from the individual's next check.

NOTE: RR checks bear beneficiary symbols that identify the type of RR benefit involved.

2. Verification of Retroactive RR Annuities

  1. The interface between the SSR and RRB posts increases in the amount of the RR annuity to the SSR. If the SSR/RRB interface reveals retroactive RR payments, the FO will receive from the Data Operations Center (DOC) an SSA-3570. Because the SSA-3570 contains information provided by RRB, it serves as primary evidence of retroactive RR payments.

  2. When the FO must develop retroactive RR paymentsand an SSA-3570 is not available, request from SSA central office payment data back to January 1975 as outlined in c