Editorial: LIRR disability fraud has hefty price tag

The Long Island Rail Road will try to The Long Island Rail Road will try to revoke the pensions of 600 retirees whose federal disability benefits were cut last week because of suspicions about fraud, LIRR officials said. (May 6, 2011) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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$1 billion -- That's the estimated sum a widespread disability scheme among Long Island Rail Road retirees could have cost the federal Railroad Retirement Board if the fraud hadn't been uncovered.

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After a federal probe, the board cut benefits for 600 LIRR retirees who were certified as disabled by a Garden City doctor who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

Now the LIRR wants to revoke their pensions as well. Workers who are truly disabled can reapply for disability benefits -- a hassle, probably, but a crucial step to whittle out those who committed fraud.

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