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The federal Railroad Retirement Board handles this benefit program for eligible workers and their families. General Eligibility Like Social Security, Railroad Retirement benefits are based on months of service and earnings credits. Employees of railroads engaged in interstate commerce, some related industries, railway associations, and national railway labor organizations qualify for Railroad Retirement after 10 years of credited work.
A pension plan is an agreement between an employee, their employer and, for some jobs, the union. Sometimes, the employer contributes and sometimes the employee does as well. Employers are not required to have pension plans. A federal law, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), sets the standards for private pensions. It also provides guaranteed pensions in some cases.

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