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Rail News: Federal Legislation & Regulation

Railroad Retirement Board begins paying extended benefits


After making necessary programming changes to agency systems, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) yesterday began processing and paying extended unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for railroad workers sidelined during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorized extended UI benefits to rail workers who received UI benefits from July 1, 2019, to June 30, 2020.

Under the law, rail workers with less than 10 years of service may be eligible for up to 65 days of extended benefits within seven consecutive two-week registration periods. Workers with 10 or more years of service, who previously were eligible for up to 65 days in extended benefits, may now receive benefits for up to 130 days within 13 consecutive two-week registration periods, RRB officials said in a press release.

No extended benefit period under the provision can begin after Dec. 31, they said.

The agency will identify employees who've exhausted their regular UI benefits during the benefit year that began July 1, 2019, and send them a letter and claim forms to receive the extended benefits. The agency also will upload claim forms to online accounts so that individuals can file them online through myRRB on the agency's website.

Since RRB offices are closed to the public due to the pandemic, railroad employees are encouraged to file for UI benefits by setting up an myRRB account if they have not already done so.