Help us stop upcoming cuts to Railroad Retirement unemployment and sickness insurance benefits

A message to all IAM District Lodge 19 Members:

We received the following message from the Railroad Retirement Board Labor Member John Bragg (RRB.GOV).

“Sequestration Will Reduce Railroad Unemployment and Sickness

Benefits Due to End of COVID-19 National Emergency”

The Budget Control Act of 2011, and a subsequent sequestration order to implement mandated cuts, requires that railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits be reduced by a set percentage. However, effective January 3, 2021, the Continued Assistance to Rail Workers Act of 2020 exempted those benefits from sequestration until 30 days after the end of the national emergency related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With Congress passing legislation declaring an immediate end to the national emergency, which President Biden signed on April 10, 2023, sequestration will resume for railroad unemployment and sickness benefits effective May 10, 2023. 

Starting on that date, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will reduce railroad unemployment and sickness insurance benefits by 5.7 percent, the reduction amount at the time sequestration was temporarily suspended in 2021. The same reduction amount will remain in effect through September 30, 2031.

The current daily benefit rate for both unemployment and sickness insurance benefits is $85.00.  Applying the sequestration reduction of 5.7 percent, the maximum benefit in a 2-week period will be reduced from $850.00 to $801.55.  Sickness benefits paid to an employee within six months from the date last worked for a reason other than an on-the-job injury are also subject to regular tier I railroad retirement taxes, resulting in a further reduction of 7.65 percent.

Applying the 5.7 percent reduction to these sickness benefits will result in a maximum 2-week total of $740.23.”

We are trying to abolish this sequestration on RRB benefits. Our Legislative Department is trying to get traction on this idea, but they could use help from all of our members and their families. This bill will need bipartisan support from our representatives (House and Senate) in Washington, DC. You can search for your representative on Please take a few minutes to call and or email your representatives so that we can end sequestration on our RRB sickness and unemployment benefits.

I remain, Sincerely Yours, In Solidarity

Andrew W. Sandberg
Asst. President
IAM District Lodge 19

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