Unemployed railroad workers may be able to receive a biweekly unemployment insurance to help them cover the cost of their everyday living while they are looking for work. A federal law, known as the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, guarantees that most railroad workers will be able to receive benefits if they become unemployed. The Railroad Retirement Board handles unemployment insurance claims and workers can apply online or in person.
In accordance with the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, any qualified unemployed railroad worker can receive benefits. Normal benefits are paid for up to 130 days or 26 weeks out of the year, according to the Railroad Retirement Board. During this time, an eligible worker will receive biweekly benefits. The daily benefit rate is equal to 60 percent of the worker's pay during the previous year, according to the Railroad Retirement Board.
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In order to receive benefits, the railroad employee must have worked for at least five months before applying for unemployment insurance, according to the Railroad Retirement Board. Applicants must be out of work and cannot claim unemployment benefits if they receive income from any other source such as holiday pay, military reservist pay or part-time work. The applicant must also be healthy and able to return to work as soon as possible. People with a disability who are unable to work cannot claim railroad unemployment benefits.
The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board handles unemployment benefit claims for railroad workers. Applicants can apply online through the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board website or in person at a local office. Applicants must apply within 30 days of becoming unemployed, according to the Railroad Retirement Board. Once approved for unemployment benefits, the applicant will also need to supply biweekly claim forms through the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board website.
Some railroad employees who exceed their benefit time period may be able to receive extended benefits. A federal act known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 gives some railroad employees the option to extend their unemployment benefits for an additional 13 weeks, according to Union Pacific. The Railroad Retirement Board will send a written notice to any eligible applicant informing him how to claim extended benefits.