Despite Attention to Abuses, Disability Filings at the L.I.R.R. Remain High
In addition to screwing kids by protecting bad teachers, the unions are bankrupting us by abusing their power. On the plus side, however, their greed, arrogance, bullying and tone deafness is one of the greatest assets we reformers have, as they drive people into our camp (such as the person above).
I have no problem with teachers getting decent pensions, good healthcare, etc. via collective bargaining – as long as there's real bargaining going on. Far too often, however, the unions use their political power to elect school board members, mayors, legislators, etc. who then approve contracts and pass laws that are unaffordable, hide the true costs, and/or invite fraud. The latter really drives me crazy – we've all read of cases where public sector employees (not just teachers) game the retirement system by, for example, working lots of overtime in their last year to qualify for much higher pensions, etc. Below is the latest disgrace from public sector unions – the fraud has continued for years even AFTER it was exposed!
More than half of the Long Island Rail Road workers who retired last year applied for federal disability benefits, a rate far higher than the national average, even as federal officials and prosecutors tried to stem a chronic pattern of abuse of the public benefits system by the railroad's retirees.
While the number of disability claims filed by the railroad's workers has fallen since the abuses came to light in 2008, the sheer volume of applications remained conspicuously higher than those from any other train system in the country, including the Metro-North Railroad, which is comparable in size.
Furthermore, nearly all of the claims — 95 percent over the past three years — continued to be approved by the Railroad Retirement Board, the federal agency that is the equivalent of Social Security for railroad workers.
…All told, more than $120 million has been paid to hundreds of workers whose disabilities may have been exaggerated, and counting future payments, prosecutors said, the total could reach $1 billion.