Whittier California Social Security Disability Blog

Understand the Railroad Retirement Plan

Working for the railroad, you're in a special position. You won't have to go through the typical Social Security program for your benefits. Instead, you'll use the Railroad Retirement system.

The Railroad Retirement Plan is a national plan used to provide retirement benefits to people who have worked for the U.S. Railroad. Workers won't participate in the Social Security program, so they don't have to worry about paying double into these two retirement programs.

Get the benefits you need with Social Security Disability

Living with a disability is hard enough, but when you can't work, that means you also have to figure out how to afford your life. The good news is that there are several programs in place to help you, with Social Security Disability (SSD) being one of the major programs that provides for those who cannot work due to a disability.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) covers individuals who have worked and paid into the Social Security benefits program. Your qualification is based on your total number of credits. On top of this, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provides additional financial support based on need.

Supplemental Security Income: Know your income

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be a great help to those who receive Social Security Disability (SSD) or other benefits but still need a helping hand with their finances each month. SSI is designed to provide an individual with additional income for the necessities, like clothes and food.

Your income plays an important role in whether or not you qualify for SSI. The Social Security Administration (SSA) looks at four kinds of income to determine your income level and if you're able to qualify for SSI. These include:

  • Earned income
  • Unearned income
  • Deemed income
  • In-kind income

Additional benefits may be available to those on disability

If you suffer an injury and cannot return to work, one of the options you have is seeking Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. SSD is designed to help people who cannot go back to work due to a permanent disability that is expected to last at least one year. It can be used by the blind, people with significant handicaps and others.

Social Security Disability benefits are not always enough to support you on their own, which is why the Social Security Administration (SSA) has other programs available to people on SSD. These might include Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and some state or local programs.

Understand income and your Supplemental Security Income

If you want to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), one thing you need to do is to identify how much income you have. There are several kinds of qualifying income you need to disclose. Some of these include:

  • Earned income
  • Unearned income
  • In-kind income
  • Deemed income

Earned income refers to wages from self-employment or employment. Unearned income could be income from interest, Social Security benefits or gifts from friends or relatives. Deemed income is a portion of the income of your spouse, sponsor (if you're an alien in the U.S.) or your parents (if you live with them). In-kind income is the income assumed based on the receipt of free or reduced food or shelter.

Do you qualify for Social Security Benefits?

The process to qualify for Social Security Benefits (SSB) can be difficult to understand due to the strictness of the qualifying rules, one slip-up could cause you the befits you deserve. Benefits are payed monthly to those disabled to a level that impairs their ability to work for a year or more.

The benefits will often continue until you’re able to return to work indefinitely. Work incentives, or “special rules,” are in place to provide continued benefits and health care coverage to help aid your transition back into the workforce.

Understanding your Railroad Retirement benefits

Railroad Retirement is designed to provide retirement benefits, unemployment-sickness programs and comprehensive survivor benefits to railroad workers and their families. Railroad Retirement is given out by the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB). The RRB is part of the executive branch of government, but it is independent of the Social Security Administration (SSA).

What are the basic service requirements for Railroad Retirement?

When can you apply for Social Security Disability?

If you are disabled, one of the things that you should apply for is Social Security Disability (SSD). Social Security Disability benefits provide you with an income when you cannot work due to an injury that you have suffered.

Many people who end up on Social Security Disability have a history of working. That is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) requires you to meet requirements before you can receive benefits. One of those requirements is that you have a work history that supports your right to receive benefits. You must have paid into the Social Security program to obtain SSD (excluding very few exceptions).

Supplemental Security Income can boost your benefits

Most people understand that it's difficult to live on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits alone. It's also hard to live on retirement if you only have Social Security to rely on. That's why Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is so beneficial. It provides a boost to your income so that you can afford the necessities.

The SSI program is a federal supplemental program that is designed to help the blind, disabled and aged who have small incomes or no income at all. It provides the necessary money to have an appropriate shelter, to buy food and to get clothing. This program is supported with tax revenue, not the Social Security taxes that you paid.

How do you get railroad employee benefits?

You are entitled to railroad employee retirement benefits if you qualify for them yourself or through your spouse. The Railroad Retirement program is similar to the Social Security system, but it's not the same. It's administered by the Railroad Retirement Board, which is independent from the federal government.

As someone who may be entitled to RRB benefits, you need to know what those benefits are. Qualified individuals may receive retirement benefits through the RRB as well as sickness insurance benefits and unemployment. The system for the benefits is similar to the Social Security benefits others receive when they are not part of the railroad industry. You'll pay into the benefits over the time you work in the industry, benefiting from it once you retire.

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