Frequently Asked Questions

How do I learn more about Railroad Retirement Benefits?

How do I set up direct deposit for my pension check?

Contact the BNSF Pension Center at 800-811-0687 and request a Direct Deposit Authorization form.

How do I change my Federal Income Tax Withholding from my pension check?

Contact the BNSF Pension Center at 800-811-0687 and request a Federal Tax Withholding Election form.

How do I apply for my pension?

Contact the BNSF Pension Center at 800-811-0687 and request a retirement commencement kit.

How do I report the death of an employee or retiree?

Contact the BNSF Pension Center at 800-811-0687. Please be sure to have the retiree's Social Security number available.

When should I apply?

You should apply at least 60 days before, but no sooner than 90 days before the date you want your retirement to commence. The sooner you apply, the more time you have to submit your signed election forms.

Will I need to send anything with the election forms?

Yes, you will need to provide proof of age with your completed forms. Examples of acceptable documents are:

  • Photocopy of an official birth certificate
  • Photocopy of valid driver's license (with the DOB clearly legible)

If you are married, you will also need to provide:

  • Photocopy of a proof of age document for your spouse (above)
  • Photocopy of your marriage certificate or license

When am I eligible for early retirement?

You may commence your early retirement benefits on the first day of the month following your 55th birthday, if you have at least 10 years of vesting service, or at age 65 regardless of your service.

Will my retirement benefits be reduced if I retire early?

Yes. If you choose to commence benefits before your normal retirement date (age 65), your benefits will be subject to an early retirement reduction factor unless you are at least age 62 with 30 years of exempt service.

Will I be eligible for medical coverage after I retire?

Only former Burlington Northern and Santa Fe employees who were in salaried positions on Sept. 22, 1995, and remained in salaried employment until they commence benefits under the BNSF Retirement Plan may be eligible for retiree medical benefits. For more information contact the Benefits Center at 833-277-8051.

Will I be eligible for dental coverage after I retire?

Your dental coverage will cease upon termination or retirement. However, you may elect COBRA dental coverage through the Benefits Center for 18 months after your retirement.

What do I need to consider if I leave exempt employment before age 55?

When you leave exempt employment before reaching age 55 and obtaining 10 years of vesting service, you will not be eligible for retiree medical benefits, exempt company-paid life insurance, or the Early Retirement Supplemental Benefit.

Am I eligible for a lump sum distribution if I am vested in the BNSF Retirement Plan and leave BNSF?

If you leave BNSF and have a vested retirement benefit, you will automatically receive an elections packet within 2-4 weeks of your termination date. If the lump sum value of your accrued benefit is not more than $25,000, then you will have the option to receive a lump sum distribution.

I was a salaried employee and a participant in the BNI Plan as of Dec. 31, 1988; how does this affect early retirement?

If you were a participant in the BNI Pension Plan on Dec. 31, 1988, and if you terminate employment with all participating companies before you are eligible for an early retirement benefit, you may elect to receive your entire plan benefit in a lump sum, regardless of whether the present value of your benefit is not more than $25,000.

I am retired. How do I change my address?

Contact the BNSF Pension Center at 800-811-0687 and request a Change of Address form

My divorce decree stipulates that my ex-spouse is entitled to a portion of my pension, what do I need to do?

A divorce decree is not sufficient to legally divide your benefits from the BNSF Retirement Plan. To legally divide your benefits, a domestic relations order must be submitted, reviewed and determined to be qualified under the terms of the plan.

Where can I get sample wording for a qualified domestic relations order?

Contact QDRO Consultants at 800-527-8481.

How do I get my domestic relations order qualified?

You may need to seek legal counsel to draft a domestic relations order. QDRO Consultants has model language that your attorney can use when drafting your domestic relations order. Using the model language can help reduce the number of revisions necessary for a domestic relations order to be deemed as qualified.

Will the pension benefits of current BNSF retirees be affected by the 2019 changes?

No. The benefits of retirees or beneficiaries who are either currently receiving their pension benefit or have deferred their benefit will not be affected by this change.

If I have questions that are not answered here or want more detailed information, where can I get it?

Visit the Exempt Retirees Contact page for more information.