Railroad Worker Benefits

An injured worker deserves the peace of mind of knowing their bills are covered while they are recovering from their on the job injury. But, because railroad worker benefits are governed differently than benefits for most other workers in the United States, the application process can be confusing. FELA lawyers like Rome, Arata and Baxley, often help their clients to apply for benefits while they are off injured. Working with an experienced FELA accident attorney puts a benefits expert on your case with your best interests at heart.

This page provides a brief explanation and links to most major benefits programs for U.S. railroad employees. Please note: Other medical benefits may be available. Always ask your Union Representative for additional options.

Short Term Railroad Disability Benefits

The Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act provides two kinds of benefits for railroad employees; Sickness and Accident Benefits and Unemployment Benefits.

RRB - Sickness and Accident Benefits

When you are unable to work because of illness or injury railroad workers may apply for sickness and accident benefits through the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB.)To qualify, in a given benefit year, which begins on July 1st each year, you must have met minimum earning requirements in the previous calendar year. Click here for more info... The application for sickness/accident benefits should be filed as soon as you realize that you will not be able to work due to sickness or injury. If the application is not filed within 30 days from the date of injury, RRB may not back pay. It pays approximately $1200/month.

Click here to register and apply online for your Railroad Sickness and Accident Benefits >

You can call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1-877-772-5772 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak to an RRB representative.

Please note: sickness benefits are also payable to female employees unable to work because of pregnancy, miscarriage, or childbirth.

RRB - Unemployment Benefits

RRB unemployment benefits kick in when you are not working but are ready, willing and able to work. Railroad workers would apply for unemployment through the RRB instead of the regular unemployment office. To qualify, in a given benefit year, which begins on July 1st each year, you must have met minimum earning requirements in the previous calendar year.
Click here for more info...

Click here to register and apply online for your Railroad Unemployment Benefits >

Anthem Life >

The UTU provides automatic rail disability insurance through Anthem Life Insurance Co. "The Anthem rail disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety net” of coverage for UTU members, and was designed to work in combination with Railroad Retirement sickness benefits."
The Anthem plan pays up to $346 per week for up to 26 weeks a year, and provides 24-hour coverage, seven days a week, for accidents and sickness. The 24/7 means on and off-duty coverage for accidents and sickness.

Apply for Anthem Rail Disability Insurance >

Please note: UTU members who qualify for this should apply simultaneously for their RRB Sickness and Accident benefits.

Met-Life >

The BLE-T provides rail disability insurance through Met-Life. Part A covers Non-Occupational Injuries while Part B is for Occupational Disabilities.
HOW TO FILE for Met-Life BLE-T Short Term Disability
Call the MetLife Claim Center at 1-800-858-6506 Tell them you would like to file a claim under BLE-T Short Term Disability.
Please note:Railroad workers who qualify for this should apply simultaneously for their RRB Sickness and Accident benefits. Also, Met-Life does not apply to all BLE-T members on all properties - click the link above for more info. and to learn if you qualify for both part A and B.

Off Track Vehicle Accident Benefits for Railroaders

Far too many railroad employees are injured in off-track collisions while at work. Since 1969, the Off Track Vehicle Accident Benefits for Railroaders has provided special protection for railroaders injured during transport. Currently, this benefit provides up to $1,000.00 per week for 156 consecutive weeks if you are injured in an off-track vehicle accident. To qualify, an “employee must be riding in, boarding, or alighting from off-track vehicles authorized by the carrier and are (1) deadheading under orders or (2) being transported at carrier expense.” To apply, submit a claim through your railroad personnel department. Please note - since this benefit is not widely known about it is not often applied for and some railroad officials are not aware that exists. If you have any questions about this benefit please don't hesitate to call us at 866 993 0001.

Also, click here to learn how UM/UIM and PIP on your personal auto insurance can help provide additional protection.

Long Term Railroad Disability Benefits

Railroad Retirement Board >

Instead of Social Security, The Railroad Retirement Act establishes the Railroad Retirement Board to manage retirement and permanent disability benefits for railroad employees.

You can call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1 877 772-5772 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak to an RRB representative.

Disability Benefits at the RRB >

A 5-month waiting period beginning with the month after the month of the onset of disability is required before any disability annuity payments can begin.

Total Disability for Railroad Workers- Any railroad employee who is permanently disabled for all regular work and has at least 10 years (120 months) of creditable railroad service may apply for their disability annuity. Employees with 5-9 years (60-119 months) of creditable railroad service, if at least 5 years were performed after 1995, may also qualify.

Occupational Disability for Railroaders- If an employee has 20 years or at age 60, if an employee has at least 10 years of railroad service or at any age or if the employee has at least 20 years (240 months) of service, when the employee is permanently disabled for his or her regular railroad occupation. A "current connection" with the railroad industry is also required for an annuity based on occupational, rather than total, disability.

How long does it take to receive railroad disability benefits?
The RRB will normally notify you on a decision of your application for occupational disability in 4 months or less. Contact the RRB if you haven't received word from them within 4 months. Sometimes, the application is eventually approved well after eligibility begins. In these cases, the worker will receive a supplemental retro-active payment.

Please note: in some cases, an employee may purchase the last few years of service during settlement negotiation of their FELA injury claim. Call a FELA lawyer to discuss this possibility.

Retirement for Railroaders at the RRB >

Employees with 30 or more years of creditable service are eligible for regular annuities based on age and service the first full month they are age 60. Early retirement reductions may apply.

Employees with 10-29 years of creditable service, or 5-9 years, if at least 5 years were after 1995, are eligible for regular annuities based on age and service the first full month they are age 62.

Please note: in some cases, an employee may purchase the last few years of service during settlement negotiation of their FELA injury claim. Call a FELA lawyer to discuss this possibility.

Helpful links at the Railroad Retirement Board

You can call the Railroad Retirement Board at 1 877 772-5772 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, to speak to an RRB representative.

Social Security >

Any railroad worker who becomes disabled but does not qualify for their Occupational Annuity or Permanent Railroad Disability should apply for disability benefits at the Social Security Administration link above.

Railroad Medical Benefits

Many railroaders are able to choose which company handles their basic medical insurance. The 3 top providers are: sAetna, Blue-Cross/Blue-Shield and United Health Care.

Recommended Optional Benefits for Railroaders

UM/UIM and PIP >

Learn why we recommend that every railroader maximize their Un-insured/Under-insured Motorist and Personal Injury Protection on their personal auto insurance.

Job Insurance for Railroad Workers

Far too often, railroad employees are fired permanently or temporarily as discipline for unavoidable situations or for reporting injuries. For this reason 'job or fired insurance' is essential protection for U.S. railroaders. Some providers are: Brotherhood's Relief and Compensation Fund and AFLAC. You can also ask your railroad union representative for additional recommendations.