November 1, 2014

Medicare Part B premiums remain the same in 2015

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The standard Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $104.90 in 2015, the same amount as in 2014. Some beneficiaries will continue to pay higher premiums based on their modified adjusted gross income, but these amounts are also remaining the same as in 2014. The monthly premiums that include income-related adjustments for 2015 will be [...]

Social Security benefits to go up by 1.7 percent

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Millions of older Americans who rely on federal benefits will get a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly payments next year, the government announced Wednesday. It’s the third year in a row the increase will be less than two percent.

Barrows named for second term as RRB labor member

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President Barack Obama announced Oct. 8 his intent to nominate Walter A. Barrows to a second term as the labor member to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board. His nomination must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Obama first nominated Barrows as the board’s labor member in 2011. His appointment was confirmed by the Senate on [...]

Credit for military service under the RRA

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Many railroad employees have at some time served in the Armed Forces of the United States. Under certain conditions, their military service may be credited as rail service under the Railroad Retirement Act. The following questions and answers provide information on how military service may be credited towards railroad retirement benefits. 1. Under what conditions [...]

RRB unemployment, sickness benefits to decrease

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Beginning Oct. 1, 2014, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will reduce railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits by 7.3 percent, up from the current 7.2 percent reduction, due to federal budget cuts first implemented in March 2013. The adjusted reduction amount is based on revised projections of benefit claims and payments under the Railroad [...]

Tribute to late John Denver takes ‘country boy’ home

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For conductor and Norfolk Southern GO 680 Vice General Chairperson Robert C. “Bubba” Chandler III, the rhythm of the rails is in his bones. Long before he began riding the rails, the rhythm of the music was in his soul. A self-taught six-string guitar picker for more than 35 years, Chandler is an accomplished professional [...]

SMART needs your photos for Alumni calendar

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The SMART Transportation Division is seeking quality railroad, bus and airline photos, taken by its members, for placement in its annual calendar and other uses. The calendar is mailed annually to members of the UTU Alumni Association as one of the benefits of Alumni Association membership. High-resolution digital photographs should be emailed to news_TD@smart-union.org. Printed photographs should [...]

12th annual rail reunion and retirement dinner info

Local 240 Chairperson Harry Garvin Jr. reports that the 12th annual rail reunion and retirement dinner for employees of UP, SP, Pacific Electric, Metrolink, Amtrak and AT&SF (Locals 32, 240, 1422, 1770, 1813 and 1846) will be held Nov. 7, from 3-9 p.m., at Sierra Lakes Golf Course, 16600 Club House Dr., in Fontana. The [...]

AFL-CIO’s Trumka: ‘We won’t be turned aside’

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AFL-CIO President Richard L. Trumka drew several standing ovations during an electrifying speech to delegates and guests on the fourth day of the SMART Convention Aug. 14. The former United Mineworkers’ president began his speech by addressing the merger of the former Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association and the former United Transportation Union into SMART [...]

Medicare: Consider insurance when traveling abroad

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When planning a foreign trip, it’s highly unlikely your first thought would be, “Will Medicare pay if I get injured or have a medical emergency before I get back home?” Many patients think their Medicare benefits will provide coverage, wherever they go. Unfortunately, this isn’t true and can lead to costly, and avoidable, mistakes. Generally, [...]