April 24, 2014

Automatic disability insurance for rail members

The SMART Transportation Division has renewed its contract, effective July 1, 2013, with Anthem Life Insurance Co. to provide a group voluntary short-term disability plan for all rail members. Coverage will continue to be automatic unless members choose to waive coverage or “opt-out.” The Anthem rail disability insurance plan provides a basic “safety net” of [...]

Pay, benefits keys to better bus safety

Calvin Studivant

By Calvin StudivantAlternate vice president, Bus Department Fatigue management was a topic of significant importance earlier this month at a National Transportation Safety Board forum I attended in Washington, D.C. The troubling news from the forum is that non-union bus operators, employed by so-called low-cost carriers, are being forced to work too many hours, with [...]

Rail Retirement, Social Security benefits go electronic

Effective May 1, Social Security and Railroad Retirement checks for new recipients no longer will be mailed. Instead, all benefits payments — retirement, survivor and disability — will go electronically to the recipients’ bank accounts via electronic direct deposit. Those already receiving Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits via check through the postal service will [...]

Don’t let them fool you about Railroad Retirement

An opinion article recently published by the Financial Times and Fox News, written by conservative financial columnist Liz Peek, takes a nasty and incorrect swipe at Railroad Retirement, saying Railroad Retirement should be eliminated and folded into Social Security. The argument begins with a major falsehood — that Railroad Retirement is costing the American taxpayer. [...]

RRB adjusts withholding for 140,000 annuitants

The Railroad Retirement Board reports it has adjusted benefits — effective with February benefits checks — for more than 140,000 beneficiaries to reflect new federal income tax withholding rates. The new rates comply with provisions of the congressionally passed Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010. The new rates apply to [...]

SS, Rail Retirement benefits go electronic

Come May 1, Social Security and Railroad Retirement checks for new recipients no longer will be mailed. The Social Security Administration and the Railroad Retirement Board are going paperless — sending payment electronically (direct deposit) to those receiving retirement, disability and survivor benefits. Those already receiving Social Security and Railroad Retirement benefits will have until March [...]

Lawmakers change; our mission does not

James Stem

By James Stem,UTU National Legislative Director With the election over, change has come to Washington. Since 2001, the congressional political majority has shifted three times. New majorities are nothing new to our UTU legislative team. While most UTU-endorsed candidates were re-elected, we did lose friends with whom we had long and positive relationships. Thankfully, the [...]

Rail sickness benefits now available online

Rail workers may now file biweekly claims for railroad sickness benefits directly online with the Railroad Retirement Board. The agency said rail workers may now access this online service at www.rrb.gov by clicking on “Benefit Online Services.” The RRB implemented a similar system for unemployment benefits in 2004. First-time users must request a password request [...]

UTU PAC: It’s about jobs, benefits, safety

UTU Michigan State Legislative Director Jerry Gibson knows the value of the UTU PAC in electing labor friendly lawmakers. He knows how to share those facts, also. UTU Local 1075 Secretary-Treasurer John Purcell says he and other members of his Trenton, Mich., local had “no clue of what the UTU PAC was. No one had [...]

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 [...]