September 21, 2014

New STB member; RRB, NMB hopefuls waiting

WASHINGTON — A former John McCain aide, Ann Begeman, has been confirmed by the Senate as the one Republican on the three-member U.S. Surface Transportation Board. Two other presidential nominees — Walt Barrows to become the labor member on the Railroad Retirement Board, succeeding Butch Speakman; and Republican Thomas Beck to the National Mediation Board, [...]

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. [...]

Signalmen official nominated for RRB seat

Walt Barrows, secretary-treasurer of the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen since 1999, has been nominated by President Obama to fill the labor chair on the three-member Railroad Retirement Board, succeeding Butch Speakman, who is retiring. The nomination requires Senate confirmation. Barrows began his railroad career as a signalman with Norfolk & Western Railway (now part of [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

RRB acts for impaired beneficiaries

The Railroad Retirement Board’s policy is that every annuitant has the right to manage his or her own benefits. However, when physical or mental impairments make a railroad retirement annuitant incapable of properly handling benefit payments, or where the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) determines that the interests of the annuitant so require, the RRB can [...]

Rail Retirement finances remain strong

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) is required by law to submit annual reports to Congress on the financial condition of the railroad retirement system and the railroad unemployment insurance system. These reports must also include recommendations for any financing changes which may be advisable in order to ensure the solvency of the systems. In June, [...]

Proposal mandates electronic RRB checks

Paper checks may be a thing of the past for U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) beneficiaries who still receive them, under a recent initiative announced by the Department of the Treasury, according to the Railroad Retirement Board. One part of the Treasury initiative would eliminate the vast majority of paper checks for federal benefit payments [...]

RR jobless, sickness benefits rising

The maximum daily benefit rate payable for claims under the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act increases to $66 from $64 in the new benefit year, which begins July 1, reports the Railroad Retirement Board. Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over four in 14-day registration periods, so maximum benefits [...]