Sunday, November 30, 2008

Railroad pension scandal unfolding

In fact, the percentage of Long Island Rail Road union employees who end up getting disability benefits is so huge, it boggles the mind: up to 97 percent. That's almost all of them.

For instance, the New York Times investigation found: "The 12 highest-paid Long Island Rail Road engineers in 2006" were healthy enough to earn generous salaries, most "over $200,000." But just two years later, they've all retired and gone on disability. The same is true of "the top-earning conductors."

The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board was started in the 1930's as a sort of social security and disability program for rail workers. But unlike regular Social Security, it approves nearly all occupational disability requests, and doesn't require rehab or medical re-evaluations.