November 27, 2014

Rail Retirement benefits frozen for 2011

The Railroad Retirement Board has confirmed for rail workers what the Social Security Administration already has told Social Security recipients: There will be no increase in benefits in 2011.

The reason is there was no increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of 2009 to the corresponding period of the current year.

Additionally, and because the CPI did not rise, Railroad Retirement and Social Security beneficiaries will not see an increase in 2011 in the earnings limitation that triggers benefits cuts if they continue working while receiving benefits.

For those under full retirement age throughout 2011, the exempt earnings amount remains at $14,160. For beneficiaries attaining full retirement age in 2011, the exempt earnings amount, for the months before the month full retirement age is attained, remains at $37,680 in 2011.

For employee and spouse annuitants, full retirement age ranges from age 65 for those born before 1938 to age 67 for those born in 1960 or later. For survivor annuitants, full retirement age ranges from age 65 for those born before 1940 to age 67 for those born in 1962 or later.

Special work restrictions continue to be applicable to disability annuitants. In 2011, the monthly disability earnings limit will also stay at the previous year’s amount of $780.

Regardless of age and/or earnings, no Railroad Retirement annuity is payable for any month in which an annuitant (retired employee, spouse or survivor) works for a railroad employer or railroad union.

The Department of Health and Human Services has not yet announced if there will be Medicare premium changes for 2011. Information about Medicare changes for 2011, when available, may be found at www.medicare.gov.