It pays to be shy… it sure does, if you’re a railroader!

Or asocial, or for that matter, even if you’re downright anti-social. Take your pick, it’s a matter open to  ‘interpretation’ by the officials at the federal Railroad Retirement Board – – rail workers’ version of Social Security, responsible to determine if a railroad employee applying for disability meets the eligibility criteria, before they can award the benefits. By the way, there’s no visible evidence of them even using what is considered a highly regarded test (albeit, with some limitations) such as a functional capacity evaluation.

Based in Chicago, this board, with about $34 billion in assets has not met formally in nearly two years; what’s more, the full-time presidential appointees have rarely met even in private! Since 2000, this board has coughed out 250 million dollars, approving virtually 98% of the disability applications – without scrutiny by the public, without oversight by Congress! In all fairness, way back, in 1990, on review it was apparent that over 20% of the claims were inappropriate since they did not meet the eligibility criteria. The federal commission recommended changes to correct this practice somewhat, but the ideas were discarded by the Railroad Retirement Board.

Just a few months back we heard the scandalous goings-on prevailing in the L.I.R.R. in NY. Has someone just opened another Pandora’s Box?

2008 will be marked in economic history… infamously. Talk of being anti-social, I won’t be surprised if there’s yet another can of worms waiting to be opened. Well, well, isn’t that a novel idea … there seem to be plenty around, so why pop open an expensive bottle of the bubbly? You can open one of these… yes, we can!


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