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Example Communication to Your Representative in the U.S. Congress (Facts on Railroad Retirement)

The Honorable John A. Doe United States House of Representatives  Washington, D.C.  20515  Dear Rep. Doe,
I am a constituent of yours and reside in City & State.  I am a railroad retiree with XX years of service on the XXX Railroad.  I am covered under the Railroad Retirement Act and receive my benefits and my retirement annuity through the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB).  Many members of Congress have been confused as to the history and structure of the Railroad Retirement System, even though it has been around for 80 years.  As my Representative in Congress, I want you to understand some facts on railroad retirement.  Railroad Retirement benefits and the RRB are not funded by general taxpayer dollars, nor do they add to the U.S. fiscal deficit.  Railroad Retirement benefits and RRB operations are paid for with payroll taxes from railroad employers and their railroad employees.  Railroad payroll taxes are transferred from the RRB to the Social Security Administration (SSA), where accounting separates out the Tier 1 benefit dollars (equivalent to Social Security benefits) in order to pay their RRB annuitants.  Other Tier 1 benefits above and beyond this are paid entirely out of the Railroad Retirement Trust Fund, such as the 2001 bipartisan legislation (Public Law 107-90) allowing employees with 30 years of service to retire at age 60.  Under the Railroad Retirement Act, if the Railroad Trust Fund faces a shortfall, the onus is on the railroad carriers alone to raise their own taxes…not the employee taxes, and certainly, not the American taxpayer.  Tier ll benefits are fully funded by additional payroll taxes paid solely by railroads and their employees.  Railroad retirement taxes have historically been higher than Social Security taxes, in order to finance certain benefit payments over and above social security levels.

This is an abbreviated summary of a larger explanation that was circulated to Congressional offices in 2012 by  the freight railroads, rail labor and railroad retirees in NARVRE, after an unsubstantiated House Report 112-421 (H. Con Res. 112) proposed that Congress conform Railroad Retirement Tier 1 benefits to Social Security benefits.  That Resolution also states that doing so would save U.S. taxpayers $2 billion over 10 years, which is simply not true.  Other false statements have held that our Railroad Retirement Board performs a duplication of work with the Social Security Administration…again, this is not true.  I am a member of the National Association of Retired & Veteran Railway Employees (NARVRE).  If you need more information on railroad retirement please contact the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board Agency for the facts and verification.  As your constituent, I would appreciate your response and being added to your E-newsletter.  Thank you,
Sincerely,
Name
Address
Email address (if applicable)

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