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The Privacy Act:
How to Obtain Records About Yourself
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Medical Records


Records and Information

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It is assumed that you are either a current or former railroad worker or that you are a person who has applied for benefits on the earnings of a railroad worker.

Obtaining records about yourself is easy. No special forms are necessary. All you need to do is send a letter describing what records you want. Please be as specific as possible. If you want a statement of the number of months of railroad service and compensation reported to the Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) by your railroad employer(s), send your letter to:

The Director of the Employee Service Center
Office of Programs
Railroad Retirement Board
844 N. Rush St.
Chicago, IL 60611-2092.

For all other types of records send your letter to the Director of Operations, Office of Programs. In all cases, be sure to include your social security number if you are the railroad employee. If you are not the railroad worker (e.g. you are the spouse or widow), include the social security number of the railroad worker.

If you are not sure how to describe the records you want, feel free to call the RRB field office nearest you for help.

If you have applied for an annuity under the Railroad Retirement and are not sure what records you want, we can arrange for your claim file to be sent to the field office nearest you. You can then review it there and have copies made of the documents in the folder that you want. Most paper records are filed in the worker's claim file.

Medical records

Special rules apply to medical records: These can be summarized as follows:

  1. If we have denied your application for disability benefits and you ask for your medical records to contest our decision, we will furnish them to you.
  2. In all other cases, we will first have our medical staff examine them to determine whether their release to you might be harmful to you. If our medical staff thinks their release might be harmful to you, we will ask that you furnish us with the name and address of a physician of your choice. We will then release the medical records to this physician who can then review the records with you and release them to you if in his professional judgment the release would be warranted. In the majority of cases, medical records are released directly to the requester.
  3. With the exception of the special case where we release the records to your designated physician and when you request your medical records to contest our denial of your claim for benefits, we must release your medical records directly to you, even if you request us to furnish them to a third party, such as an attorney. Once you receive the records, you are free, of course, to give them to whoever you wish. This procedure, which we admit might be an inconvenience to you, is a requirement of the laws we administer.

We do not send the original records to you. For paper documents, we send photocopies. The cost is 10 cents a copy, and covers only the actual cost of reproduction. However, we do not charge for costs of $10.00 or less; thus, the first 100 pages are free.

Records and Information

Written requests are not required for general information and may not be necessary for certain kinds of personal information.

If you seek general information, you might well find it elsewhere right here on the RRB's web site. If you don't find what you are looking for, you can call the field office nearest you.

Likewise, if you want information about yourself, call the field office nearest you. Information about yourself would include: requests for annuity estimates, status of retirement checks, explanations of changes in payment amounts or benefit information in letters we send you.

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