Sickness and Unemployment Insurance Benefits



U. S. Railroad Retirement Board
844 Rush Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611
telephone 800-808-0772

Members who become injured or sick may be eligible to receive sickness benefits from the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The RRB is the Federal agency responsible for administering the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, which provides sickness benefits for railroad employees. Railroad employees do not pay for the sickness benefit program. The funds come from a payroll tax on employers.

Members who are able to work, but are unemployed due to being furloughed, or dismissed, may be eligible to receive unemployment benefits.

  • The maximum unemployment and sickness insurance daily benefit rate for benefit year beginning July 1, 2003 is $55 and, for biweekly claims, maximum benefits can total $550, and may increase at the beginning of each future benefit year depending on the growth in average national wages. Sickness benefits payable for the first six months after the employee last worked are subject to tier I railroad retirement payroll taxes, unless benefits are being paid for an on-the-job injury.

  • The unemployment and sickness insurance daily rate is projected to increase to $55 in July 2003.

  • Registration and waiting period.-- Benefits are normally paid for the number of days of unemployment or sickness over four in 14-day registration periods. Initial sickness claims must also begin with four consecutive days of sickness. However, during the first 14-day claim period in a benefit year, benefits are only payable for each day of unemployment or sickness in excess of seven which, in effect, provides a one-week waiting period. But, only one seven-day waiting period is required during any period of continuing unemployment or sickness, even if that period continues into a subsequent benefit year.

  • Initial payments will be made within 4 weeks after their first claim of unemployment or sickness, instead of 6 weeks as required in the past. There will only be one waiting period during a period of continuing unemployment or sickness, even if a new benefit year begins during that period of unemployment or sickness.

  • An "earnings test'' will be applied to unemployment claims reporting some days of employment or other earned income, such as paid leave.

  • Employees with 15 years of rail service who exhaust the 26 weeks of normal benefits payable in a benefit year are now eligible for additional benefits in a 13-week extended period, rather than a 26-week extended period.

  • Strike benefits.-- If you are unemployed because of a strike conducted in accordance with the Railway Labor Act, benefits are not payable for days of unemployment during the first 14 days of the strike, but benefits are payable during subsequent 14-day periods. If a strike is in violation of the Railway Labor Act, unemployment benefits are not payable to employees participating in the strike. However, employees not among those participating in such an illegal strike, but who are unemployed on account of the strike, may receive benefits after the first two weeks of the strike.

  • While a benefit year waiting period cannot count toward a strike waiting period, the 14-day strike waiting period may count as the benefit year waiting period if you subsequently become unemployed for reasons other than a strike later in the benefit year.

Only qualified members can receive benefits under the Railroad Retirement Insurance Act. A new benefit year for sickness begins every July 1. Members must have railroad service in at least five months of the preceding year, and receive the minimum creditable earnings in the preceding calendar year. Apply for benefits within seven days from the date last worked.

For more detailed information consult booklet UB-11, entitled "Sickness Benefit Handbook for Railroad Employees". You can download the form at along with other information regarding other benefits they provide, or you can call the U. S. Railroad Retirement Board customer service at 800-808-0772.


Return to the Brotherhood Railway Carmen Benefits Page

Return to the Brotherhood Railway Carmen Home Page


Published by Heartland Lodge 6760
Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, November 2, 1996
Revised August 29, 2012
Copyright © 1996 - 2012