The United States Railroad Retirement Board (RRB)
The United States Railroad Retirement Board in Virginia is like the Social Security Administration for railroad workers. If a railroad worker is disabled either temporarily or permanently following a train accident, they can apply to the Railroad Retirement Board to get benefits. There are lots of special rules about this government agency that I have learned over my 15 or more years in handling cases for railroad employees who get hurt on the job.
Rules for RRB
The basic rules are that there is a limit to how much short-term sickness benefit you can get in any given year. If you have a FELA case in Virginia against the railroad and make a claim, the Railroad the Retirement Board is required to be paid back for any money they paid you on those short-term disability benefits. The railroad will deduct that amount owed before they pay anything on your claim for an on-duty injury.
If you are a veteran railroad worker and have over 20 years of service (240 months) then you are eligible for something called occupational disability. Occupational disability means that if you cannot do your old job on the railroad that you will get some pension for the rest of your life if you are no longer able to be a railroad worker in that specific craft or job that you were in before.
The standard for occupational disability is for example can you be a railroad engineer any longer after your injury or disability. It doesn’t matter whether you can be a janitor or some other job on the railroad but look specifically at your job and whether you can still do it or not. This kind of pension is only open to those who have served for two decades or more in service to the railroad company.
The other kind of potential disability pension is called total disability. The standard for total disability is much like the standard for regular Social Security. You become eligible for total disability after five years of railroad service but it’s much harder to get. You have to show that there’s no job anywhere on the railroad or anywhere else that you can do in your community before you are entitled to get total disability.
Contact a Virginia Attorney to Discuss RRB Benefits
Generally, we have found that the United States Railroad Retirement Board in Virginia is decent to work with. However, the railroads are constantly trying to get the RRB to apply the rules in a way more favorable to the big railroad companies and less favorably to the workers. If your loved one has been hurt in a railroad accident or otherwise disabled from railroad work we would be happy to discuss the situation for you in a free consultation to help point you in the right direction. If you need help or advice about a serious injury, please call us or contact us.