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Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Increasing Benefits Under the Railroad Retirement System.

October 30, 1951

I HAVE today signed H.R. 3669, "An Act to amend the Railroad Retirement Act and the Railroad Unemployment Insurance Act, and for other purposes."

This act will provide badly-needed increases in benefit payments for more than 400,000 persons who are now receiving benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act. It will provide substantially higher benefits for railroad workers who have retired because of age or permanent disability, and for the widows and orphans of railroad workers.

I am glad to be able to approve these increases. I have been interested in the railroad retirement system for a long time, helped to work out previous amendments when I was in the Senate, and I know how much these higher amounts will mean to the retired persons, widows, and orphans who are beneficiaries.

In addition, I am glad to see that this act will provide benefits, for the first time, for the wife or husband of a retired railroad employee, and for dependent aged widowers of railroad employees. Under the new law the payment to a retired man and wife, age 65 or over, will average about $135 a month.

Heretofore the railroad retirement system has been completely separate from the general system of old-age insurance. Now, under the amended law, persons with less than 10 years of service in the railroad industry will be credited for this service under the old-age and survivors insurance system rather than the railroad retirement system, and there will be periodic financial adjustments between the two trust funds. Benefits under the new law will in all cases be at least as high as under old-age and survivors insurance, and in many cases will be somewhat higher.

In addition to the legislation I am signing today, the Congress has also adopted a resolution providing for a complete fact-finding study of the railroad retirement system, including possible changes in benefits and financing, and in the relationship between the railroad retirement system and the old age and survivors insurance system. This is a very desirable step. There are real and serious questions to be settled before we can feel confident that we are giving adequate and fair protection, on a sound financial basis, to retired workers and survivors. I hope the committee will be able to report in time for legislative action next year.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 3669 is Public Law 234, 82d Congress (65 Stat. 683).

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President Upon Signing Bill Increasing Benefits Under the Railroad Retirement System. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231215

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