September 3, 2015

Furloughed members may be entitled to benefits

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In light of the recent furloughs by Union Pacific and BNSF railroads, below is a Q&A offered by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) addressing common questions about unemployment benefits. To be eligible for unemployment benefits from the RRB, furloughed members must have had railroad earnings of at least $3,600 in 2014 and must also have [...]

RRB: new benefit year began July 1

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A new benefit year under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act began July 1, 2015. The maximum daily benefit rate payable for claims under this Act increases to $72 in the new benefit year. Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over four in 14-day registration periods, so maximum benefits [...]

Applying for a Railroad Retirement annuity

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Railroad employees who are planning to retire should be aware of what steps to take and what documents are required when applying for an annuity from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). Being prepared can prevent needless delays and ensure that payments from the RRB begin as soon as possible after retirement. The following questions and [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Rail retiree earnings limits to rise in 2015

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Railroad retirement annuitants subject to earnings restrictions can earn more in 2015 without having their benefits reduced as a result of increases in earnings limits indexed to average national wage increases. Like Social Security benefits, some railroad retirement benefit payments are subject to deductions if an annuitant’s earnings exceed certain exempt amounts. These earnings restrictions [...]

Railroad Retirement benefits to increase in 2015

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Most railroad retirement annuities, like Social Security benefits, are scheduled to increase in January 2015 on the basis of the rise in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from the third quarter of 2013 to the corresponding period of the current year. Cost-of-living increases are calculated in both the Tier I and Tier II benefits included [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]