75 Years of the Railroad Retirement System

During 2010, the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) will observe the 75th Anniversary of the enactment of the Railroad Retirement Act of 1935. Part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal legislation, the Act was signed into law on August 29, 1935, and the RRB made its first annuity payments 11 months later.

The first formal pension plan established in America was in 1874 in the railroad industry. With the 1935 Law and subsequent changes including the 2001 Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act, our pension which was one of the best may now be the very best in the United States. The coverage in 1935 averaged $60 a month with no benefits for spouses or survivors. Now the individual annuity averages about $2,700 a month with spouse annuities averaging over $900 a month. In 2010 over 600,000 beneficiaries will receive benefits totaling over $11 billion.

TCU International President Bob Scardelletti calls the 2001 Railroad Retirement and Survivors’ Improvement Act, “the greatest accomplishment of our lifetime.”

Click here to read the 75th Anniversary release from the RRB.