Posts Tagged ‘Railroad Retirement Board’

Pandemic Relief Law Extended Rail Retirement Benefits

April 1, 2021

A U.S. Railroad Retirement Board member said this week that the American Rescue Plan Act extends railroader benefits that had been created by the federal COVID-19 relief legislation passed in 2020.

ARPA included an extension of recovery benefits, unemployment benefits and a waiver of a waiting period for unemployment and sickness benefits, RRB member John Bragg said in a message to rail labor.

The act stipulates that up to $10,200 in unemployment benefits may be exempt from income tax, under a measure administered by the Internal Revenue Service.

Supreme Court Says RRB Decisions Reviewable by Courts

February 5, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a decision of the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board is subjective to judicial review.

The 5-4 decision by the high court overturned an earlier ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The appeals court had determined that it lacked jurisdiction because the Railroad Retirement Act outlines a series of steps to appeal a retirement board decision.

Among those are an appeal to the retirement board itself.

However, the Supreme Court said the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act allows judicial review of retirement board decisions.

The case involved a Union Pacific worker who had had three requests for disability benefits rejected by the retirement board.

Although a fourth quest for the benefits was granted, the worker went to court to challenge the amount and start date of his benefits.

RRB Now Paying Extended Jobless Benefits

May 13, 2020

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board said it has begun processing and paying extended unemployment insurance benefits to railroad workers furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal CARES Act authorized extended benefits to rail workers from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.

Rail workers with less than 10 years of service may be eligible for up to 65 days of extended benefits within seven consecutive two-week registration periods.

Those with 10 or more service years who are eligible for up to 65 days of extended benefits, may now receive benefits for up to 130 days within 13 consecutive two-week registration periods, RRB officials said in a news release.

No extended benefit period under the provision can begin after Dec. 31 and the agency will identify employees who’ve exhausted their regular benefits during the benefit year that began July 1, 2019.

Those workers will receive a letter and claim forms to receive the extended benefits. The forms are also available on the agency’s website.

Since RRB offices are closed to the public due to the pandemic, railroad employees are encouraged to file for UI benefits by setting up an myRRB account.

Railroaders May Be Able to Get CARES Aid

April 28, 2020

Railroaders may be eligible for benefits under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that was established by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security.

The U.S. Department of Labor has advised the Railroad Retirement Board that PUA provisions do not prohibit railroaders from being eligible for benefits if they are not eligible for Railroad Unemployment Insurance Benefits.

A railroad labor union official said the RRB’s general counsel has found there is nothing in the RUIA that prohibits railroaders from receiving PUA benefits if they are not receiving RUIA benefits.

Unemployed Rail Workers to Get Benefits

March 31, 2020

Unemployed railroad workers will have access to unemployment and sickness benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic the Association of American Railroad announced.

AAR said that relief was included in the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act approved last week.

Railroad workers do not receive unemployment benefits through state-administered programs, but through the Railroad Retirement Board’s Railroad Unemployment Insurance Program.

The CARES law waives the seven-day waiting period for filing a sickness or unemployment claim with the RRB and provides $50 million to cover the costs of providing these additional benefits.

It also increases unemployment benefits through an additional $1,200 biweekly benefit, provides $425 million to cover the costs of providing these additional benefits through July 31, and allows RRB to access about $130 million of remaining American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to provide extended benefits through Dec. 3.

The law also appropriated $5 million to RRB for additional administrative costs.