Posts Tagged ‘railroad unemployment insurance’

Rail Unions Seek End to Sequestration of Benefits

June 16, 2020

Railroad labors are seeking to overturn what they describe as unfair sequestration of Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act benefits, which they say reduces the unemployment and sickness benefits of railroad workers.

They are asking Congress to adopt language consistent with the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act that would eliminate sequestration.

The HEROES Act, which has been approved by the House but not the Senate, would increase pay for front-line workers, extend unemployment measures and provide another round of $1,200 in stimulus checks for Americans.

The railroad unions want Congress to rescind the sequestration of RUIA benefits by amending the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 to include RUIA among other various programs that are not subject to sequestration.

“Unlike the average U.S. worker, railroad employees do not receive unemployment benefits through state-administered unemployment insurance programs,” said a statement released by the unions.

The statement said unemployed railroaders receive benefits through the RUIA program, which is administered by the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 made RUIA subject to sequestration but the unions said no state unemployment insurance benefits are subject to that.

Unemployment and sickness benefits payable under the RUIA have been sequestered or reduced since 2013, as part of a package of automatic spending reductions required by the BCA.

Currently, RUIA unemployment benefits are being sequestered at the rate of 5.9 percent, as are RUIA sickness benefits.

In the past, these rates have been adjusted annually when the federal sequestration is recalculated. Railroads have seen their benefits sequestered as high as 9.2 percent in the past, union officials said.

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.