November 28, 2015

Medicare Part B premiums for 2016


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has announced that the standard monthly Part B premium will be $121.80 in 2016. However, most Medicare beneficiaries will not see an increase in their monthly Part B premiums because of a “hold harmless” provision in the law. Under that provision, Part B premiums cannot increase for current [...]

Railroad Retirement Board releases actuarial report


Chicago – The railroad retirement system will experience no cash-flow problems during the next 32 years; barring a sudden, unanticipated, large drop in railroad employment or substantial investment losses, according to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) in its report to the President and Congress. The news gets better. This 32-year estimate is based on [...]

Rail pensions may reduce supplemental annuities


Railroad retirement beneficiaries are reminded that receipt of a private railroad pension may reduce the amount of a supplemental annuity payable by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The following questions and answers provide information on this subject, as well as how distributions from a 401(k) plan affect supplemental annuities, and whether railroad employee contributions to [...]

RRB: unemployment, sickness benefits will decrease


Beginning October 1, 2015, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will reduce railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits by 6.8 percent, down from the current 7.3 percent reduction, due to federal budget cuts required by law. The adjusted reduction amount is based on revised projections of benefit claims and payments under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance [...]

Trust fund investment practices of the RRB


Beginning in 2002, a significant portion of the assets of the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has been invested in private stocks, bonds, and other investments. Prior to the Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act of 2001, P.L. 107-90, surplus railroad retirement assets could only be invested in U.S. government securities— just as the Social Security [...]

Furloughed members may be entitled to benefits


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


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


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


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 [...]