Railroad Retirement fund solvent and healthy

July 16, 2012

The Railroad Retirement Board (RRB) has reported to Congress that, barring a sudden, unanticipated, large drop in railroad employment or substantial investment losses, it will experience no cash-flow problems over the next 23 years. 

The report recommended no change in the rate of tax imposed by current law on employers and employees. 

The RRB is required by law to submit annual financial reports and triennial actuarial valuations to Congress on the financial condition of the Railroad Retirement System, as well as annual financial reports on the railroad unemployment insurance system. 

As of Sept. 30, 2011, total Railroad Retirement System assets totaled $23.6 billion. 

The cash balance of the Railroad Unemployment Insurance system was $58.7 million at the end of fiscal year 2011. 

Projecting income and outgo under optimistic, moderate and pessimistic employment assumptions, the valuation indicated no cash-flow problems occur throughout the 75-year projection period under the optimistic and moderate assumptions. Cash-flow problems only occurred under the pessimistic assumption, but not until 2035. 

The RRB’s 2012 Railroad Unemployment Insurance financial report was also generally favorable. Even as maximum benefit rates increase 44 percent (from $66 to $95) from 2011 to 2022, experience-based contribution rates are expected to keep the unemployment insurance system solvent, except for small, short-term cash flow problems in fiscal year 2015 under the pessimistic assumption.