February 28, 2015

Railroad Retirement explain survivor benefits

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Monthly benefits may be payable under the Railroad Retirement Act to the surviving widow(er), children, and certain other dependents of a railroad employee if the employee was “insured” under that act at the time of death. Lump-sum death benefits may also be payable to qualified survivors in some cases. The following questions and answers describe [...]

African American railroaders forge history at museum

ROANOKE, Va. – Members of the African American Norfolk & Western Heritage Group in Roanoke stepped behind a curtain and took their first look at how the Virginia Museum of Transportation will present their history. “I think it’s great,” said Carroll Swain, 87, one of the group’s founding members. “Right now I think it’s something [...]

Obama to declare Pullman town national monument

President Barack Obama will visit Chicago next week to designate the historic Pullman neighborhood – one of the first “company towns” in the U.S. – as a national monument. Pullman was home to railroad baron George Pullman’s factory town in the 1880s, homes, shopping areas, churches, theaters, a hotel, a library, and other amenities for [...]

Q&As regarding Railroad Retirement spouse benefits

In addition to the retirement annuities payable to employees, the Railroad Retirement Act, like the Social Security Act, also provides annuities for the spouses of retired employees. Payment of a spouse annuity is made directly to the wife or husband of the employee. Divorced spouses may also qualify for benefits. The following questions and answers [...]

A new year can mean a new you with Medicare

The start of a new year is the time for resolutions. Railroad retirees covered under Medicare can receive the help they need in making some of their resolutions a reality. According to USA.gov, the top three New Year’s resolutions are: Lose Weight Volunteer Quit Smoking The year 2015 can be a year of change with [...]

Palmetto GBA conducting Railroad Medicare survey

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Palmetto GBA is conducting a Railroad Medicare Beneficiary Satisfaction Survey. The survey is designed to collect data on beneficiary satisfaction regarding its performance as Railroad Medicare’s contractor. The survey will be sent to a random sample of approximately 8,000 Railroad Medicare Beneficiaries. The surveys will be included in an upcoming Medicare Summary Notice (MSN). Palmetto GBA is listening and wants [...]

Mental health care and Railroad Medicare coverage

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Mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can come at any age and can happen to anyone. They are nothing to be ashamed of. While they can occur at any time, stressful holidays and the let-down after the holidays often make these conditions worse. With that in mind, it’s important to know that Railroad [...]

Conductor plays Santa online in your home

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Now that the holiday season is upon us, we can expect that Santa Claus is very busy. So much so, that he has given in to the digital age by making himself available online. Our Santa – and there really is only one true Santa – is none other than BNSF Railway conductor and SMART [...]

Early rail retiree insurance cap rises in 2015

SMART Transportation Division members and their dependents insured under the Railroad Employees National Early Retirement Major Medical Benefit (ERMA) Plan (GA-46000) will have their lifetime maximum amount of coverage increased, effective Jan. 1. ERMA is a comprehensive benefits plan for employees who retire at or after age 60 with 30 years of service. The plan [...]

RRB releases statement on 2015 tax rates

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The amounts of compensation subject to railroad retirement Tier I and Tier II payroll taxes will increase in 2015, with the Tier I tax rates remaining the same while Tier II tax rates will increase for both railroad employers and employees. Also, railroad unemployment insurance contribution rates paid by employers will include a surcharge of [...]