HI 00801.111 Determining RR Status
RR involvement will normally become apparent during the initial claims interview from the replies the claimant makes to the RR leads items on the SSA-18F5. When RR involvement becomes apparent during the course of the interview, an SSA-671 (Railroad Employment Questionnaire) should be completed. (Use Part B of the SSA-671 to obtain RR information about the individual's spouse, where otherwise appropriate, even though the spouse is not a claimant.) If the additional information on the SSA-671 indicates that no eligibility could exist with RRB, the individual will, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be considered ineligible for HI as a QRRB.
An entry in block 3 of the claimant's E/R will usually reveal any HI eligibility with RRB (e.g., whether or not he has 120 or more service months in RR employment, or is a railroad annuitant). If no such entry appears on the E/R but it is alleged on the SSA-671 that a spouse age 62 (or disabled) has 120 service months, the spouse's E/R should be obtained to resolve the issue. If the RR spouse is at least 62 but not within 3 months of age 65, request an uncertified E/R and use an “EST” code on the SSA-450. If he is within 3 months of age 65 or older, use the “RET” code and circle “RQ” on the form.
The Railroad Retirement Act of 1974 substantially altered the relationship between benefits paid under title II of the Social Security Act and to Railroad annuitants. Under the current law, a claimant for title II benefits will receive a benefit check from RRB combining both SSA &RRB benefits, if one of the following conditions exists:
has 120 months of railroad service; or
is the spouse of an individual with 120 months of service; or
is the survivor of an individual with 120 months of service; or
is entitled to benefits under social security on the earnings record of an individual who has 120 months of railroad service (except a survivor of such an individual where such individual did not have a current connection with the railroad industry at the time of his death). The provisions are effective for claimants whose first month of entitlement is January1, 1975, or who file applications after December 31, 1974.
As can be seen from the four categories above, the law includes husbands, wives, etc., who have RSDI entitlement on their own earnings but have the prescribed relationship to an RRB annuitant. Also the law applies only to beneficiaries filing for initial or new entitlement in January 1975 or later.
District offices and processing centers should be alert to any indication of RR involvement in an HI claim which might suggest that the individual is, or could be a QRRB.