The New York Times analyzed federal records to find that practically ever L.I.R.R. employee, even those with desk jobs, applied for and received disability pay. Apparently, most are able-bodied until they retire. However, the Railroad Retirement Board rarely rejects a disability claim.
To understand what it’s like to work on the railroad — the Long Island Rail Road — a good place to start is the Sunken Meadow golf course, a rolling stretch of state-owned land on Long Island Sound.
During the workweek, it is not uncommon to find retired L.I.R.R. employees, sometimes dozens of them, golfing there. A few even walk the course. Yet this is not your typical retiree outing.
These golfers are considered disabled. At an age when most people still work, they get a pension and tens of thousands of dollars in annual disability payments — a sum roughly equal to the base salary of their old jobs. Even the golf is free, courtesy of New York State taxpayers.
With incentives like these, occupational disabilities at the L.I.R.R. have become a full-blown epidemic.
UPDATE: Agents raid office in L.I.R.R. Disability Inquiry; The New York Times