20 CFR § 216.15 - Special current connection test.

§ 216.15 Special current connection test.

(a) For survivor annuities. An employee who does not have a current connection under the regular test has a current connection only to qualify an individual for a survivor annuity if:

(1) The employee would not be fully or currently insured under section 214 of the Social Security Act if his or her railroad compensation after 1936 were treated as social security earnings;

(2) The employee has no quarters of coverage as defined in section 213 of the Social Security Act; or

(3) The employee received a pension or a retirement annuity that began before 1948 based on at least 114 months of service.

(b) For survivor and supplemental annuities. An employee who does not have a current connection under the regular test has a current connection in order to pay a supplemental or survivor annuity if he or she meets all of the following requirements:

(1) Has been credited with at least 25 years of railroad service;

(2) Stopped working in the railroad industry “involuntarily and without fault” on or after October 1, 1975, or was on furlough, leave of absence or absent for injury on that date;

(3) Did not decline an offer of employment in the same “class or craft” as his or her most recent railroad service; and

(4) Was alive on October 1, 1981.

(c) “Involuntarily and without fault” defined. An employee is considered to have stopped railroad employment involuntarily and without fault if:

(1) The employee loses his or her job;

(2) The employee could not, through the exercise of seniority rights, remain in railroad service in the same class or craft as his or her most recent railroad service, regardless of the location where that service would be performed; and

(3) The employee did not lose his or her job because of poor job performance, misconduct, medical reasons or other action or inaction on the part of the employee.

(d) Effect of separation allowance. An employee who accepts a separation allowance and in so doing relinquishes his or her seniority rights to railroad employment is deemed to have voluntarily terminated his or her railroad service. However, if the employee stopped railroad employment involuntarily and without fault, as defined in paragraph (c) of this section, receipt of a separation allowance will not affect a current connection under paragraph (b) of this section.

(e) “Class or craft” defined. The terms“class or craft,” as used in this section, have the same meaning as they do generally in the railroad industry.

(f) For supplemental annuities only. An additional special current connection test is required for an individual who was receiving a disability annuity which terminated due to the individual's recovery from disability. If the individual becomes entitled to a new annuity, a new current connection test based on the new annuity beginning date must be made. This test is made using the rules contained in §§ 216.13 and 216.17.