Disability Freeze

September 14, 20200

When Congress made the provision for Occupational Disability for railroad employees it was noted that social security disability, although requiring the annuitant to be disabled from all regular and substantial work, insurance was provided by Medicare, taxes were less and dependent children were eligible, making the social security disability benefits significantly greater than the railroad occupational disability. So, Congress inserted a provision into railroad occupational disability whereas if the railroad annuitant could meet the social security criteria of being disabled from all regular and substantial work, the social security benefits would be applied to occupational disability and be known as a “disability freeze”. This included payments to dependent children which is why it takes several months after you are awarded disability to get them included, waiting for social security to handle red-tape details.

If you think you might be eligible for Disability Freeze, call Paul Wingo 423-802-7351 or Click Here

Next, is how to qualify for the freeze and decide if you should want to qualify. You qualify for the disability freeze by providing all the physical and mental impairment information in your application that you might not normally do when applying for occupational disability with strong emphasis on your daily living inabilities. If you have 360 credible months and already are age 60 or will reach age 60 before your GA-23000 insurance terminates and no dependent children you may not want a disability freeze because you are going to be eligible for GA-46000 the 60/30 early retirement insurance and that will carry you (with prescription coverage) to age 65 Railroad Medicare. However, once RR Medicare is awarded, it becomes primary. Anytime you are awarded Railroad Medicare you will want to call 800-842-5252 and inquire about the Medicare Supplement GA-23111, Plan F. Prescription coverage is GA-23111 Part D. Once you are on Railroad Medicare and your dependent has time remaining on your carrier provided insurance the dependent is eligible until the expiration date set forth in the agreement. Don’t be persuaded by a cheaper Medicare Plan F supplement offering in your mailbox. Unlike the active employee whose insurance terminates in four months from dismissal, death or furlough, GA-46000 remains in effect if the employee dies until he/she would have reached age 65.

Steel & Moss oftentimes have injury clients with under 240 credible months (and not age 60) who are not eligible for occupational disability. We are ever mindful of the financial drain on their settlement funds in providing insurance for the family, no monthly benefits for dependent children and no monthly cash flow to supplement their settlement funds. It is possible to be awarded Total disability without the disability freeze package. This is the mission of the Steel & Moss disability section headed by Paul Wingo at no fee to our clients. If we are successful in obtaining a disability freeze attached to either T&P or Occupational Disability, the lifetime value of this package is probably one million dollars that would have put a considerable drain on his/her settlement. We have not had a client unable to return to work that did not get this benefit in several years. Unfortunately, it is not difficult to find other railroad employees injured on the job, obtain a settlement and has none of the above benefits. This is one reason why John Steel and John Moss has funded this section within their F.E.L.A. Law Firm since 2006. We encourage you to attend the annual RRB Labor Member’s Informational Conference.

Paul Wingo

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