The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board has an online retirement planner that employees and their spouses may access, and it offers an estimate of the expected retirement annuity, according to the RRB. The planner uses the employee's earnings and service records to calculate the benefits, along with the earliest dates the employee is eligible for a reduced annuity or a full annuity. The employee may print this information and use it to calculate the annuity for his projected earnings as well.
Workers in the railroad industry receive a government-provided pension that is similar to Social Security but separate from it, explains the RRB. Employees pay into it throughout their working years and receive an annuity based on their years of work and total earnings. The basic service requirement to be eligible for this pension is 10 years of service, or five years for service after 1995. The employee must stop railroad employment and file an application with the RRB in order to receive benefits. The full retirement age ranges from 65 to 67, depending on the year of birth, and if an employee retires prior to this age, he receives a reduced annuity unless he has 30 or more total years of service.