USA: Railroad Suffers 93% Disability Rate… Or a Disability Scam

Global Integrity
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With 93 percent of retirees getting disability compensation, a New York railroad is under investigation for abuse of the benefits system — further evidence that complex, institutionalized corruption schemes are not restricted to the developing world.

The New York state’s attorney general is investigating the inordinately high number of former Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) employees approved for disability after retirement. According to a New York Times report published Sunday, a staggering 93 to 97 percent of LIRR employees who have retired since 2000 received disability payments and collectively pocketed about US$25 million. This either makes LIRR the most dangerous job on the planet, or marks a systemic failure of oversight.

From The New York Times:

A Disability Epidemic Among a Railroad’s Retirees

Paterson Seeks Study of Benefits at L.I.R.R.

And again, in an editorial on Monday: Editorial: Railroaded

With the L.I.R.R. winning awards for increasing employee safety 4 of the last 5 years, this epidemic of disabled railroad employees is clearly not a result of the safety conditions of their industry. Instead, it stems from the lax practices of the L.I.R.R.’s disability board and the lack of whistle blowers. This localized incident mirrors cases of fund misappropriation and inside favors between public servants found world-wide, proving that the United States is far from an exception to global corruption issues.

— Norah Mallaney

Global Integrity
Global Integrity

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