When rail employees are unable to work due to a medical condition, the Proof of Disability (POD) form completed by your doctor is crucial to continue insurance coverage. The failure to submit the POD form is the number 1 reason for railroad employees insurance coverage being terminated. The POD form used for years had fax numbers to three different insurance providers and was confusing to some providers for that reason. The new POD form is now available with one FAX destination direct to Railroad Enrollment Services making it simpler and more streamlined for the providers. Although the goal for the new form is to make it more doctor friendly, the term used on the form for being unable to work remains “disabled”. This term seems to make doctors reluctant to sign the POD stating declaring an employee to be disabled. This determination is for insurance continuation purposes only but If you or your doctor have questions, please call Railroad Enrollment Services at 800-753-2693.
It is important to know that If you have been placed into suspended or dismissed status in a disciplinary action and you have a medical condition that would prevent you from working, your insurance will not continue past the fourth month from last compensated service in that status unless a POD form is submitted before expiration of the four month period. If the employee is in dismissed status and has no medical condition that would change his/her status to disabled for insurance purposes but has a dependent with a total and permanent medical condition or third trimester of pregnancy, an Extension of Current Benefits Form, when signed by a doctor describing the condition, benefits will continue (for that condition only) for the period provided by the agreement.
If you are applying to the RRB for disability, ask your doctor to circle YES and you will be through with submitting any future POD forms. If he stipulates a time limit, you will have to get the form renewed each time the limit shown expires. Sometimes when you sustain an injury while on-duty, the Claims Agent will take care of insurance continuation if a lawyer has not yet been retained, but you cannot assume that the POD has been filed. Please make sure the POD is current and submitted so that no one is denied care or a prescription when needed most.
A copy of the new P.O.D. Form and the Extension of Current Benefits Form is attached and one of each is available at steel-moss.com that can be printed.