Can I appeal my denial of railroad disability benefits?

If you are a railroad employee whose claim for Railroad Retirement Act (RRA) benefits was denied, you need to take swift action in order to preserve your right to appeal the denial.

Workers have the right to request that the decision be revisited, but they must do so, in writing, within 60 days of the decision to deny the RRA benefits. This will (or should be) clearly stated on the denial of claim letter you received in the mail.

After you submit your request for reconsideration to the Railroad Retirement Board's (RRB) Bureau of Hearings and Appeals, they may further investigate your claim for railroad disability benefits. This could include using designated medical examiners or field reps to seek additional information.

When an appeal hinges on pertinent questions of fact, you are permitted to request an oral hearing, which might include telephone or videoconferencing at your local field office.

Second level of appeals

If your claim for disability benefits is still denied, you have the right to an appeal with the three-member Board. Request for same must be made within 60 days of the mailing date of the Bureau of Hearings and Appeals' adverse decision.

The Board must then make a decision based on the evidence that was originally presented to the hearings officer. Under most circumstances, they will disallow supplemental evidence, and this is not considered to be a hearing.

Final appeal possible

This final decision of the Board can still be eligible for review by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. To take it to this level, appellants must file a petition for review within a year of their notification of the three-member Board's decision. Your Whittier railroad retirement benefits claim attorney can provide you with advice and strategies at all levels of the claims process to keep you on the right track.

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