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LIRR Pension Mistake Could Cost Widow Nearly $27,000

Shirley Findel (credit: Handout)

Shirley Findel (credit: Handout)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – The widow of a retired Long Island Rail Road train engineer who died last September said she must repay nearly $27,000 in extra pension benefits due to a “processing error” by the MTA.

MTA officials told Shirley Findel, who now lives in Port Richey, Fla., that she and her husband received extra money every month for nearly two decades because of the error, 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

“They sent her a letter in February saying that it had just come to their attention that they had overpaid my father $124 a month for 19 years,” Findel’s daughter, Linda Box, told Rivera.

Findel said she was told the error was uncovered after notifying pension administrators her husband had died last fall.

The agency informed her last week that she could repay the money over nine years.

“I just couldn’t handle it, I broke down and cried,” Findel told Rivera. “I’m 80 years old, I’ll never recoup that money back to them that they say that I owe them.”

Box said the MTA should pay for its own mistakes, especially in light of a disability scam that resulted in the convictions or guilty pleas of dozens of doctors, consultants and retirees charged in the case.

“Go after these big guys who have sucked millions out of the railroad,” Box said.

The MTA said it has a duty to recover funds that were improperly paid to a beneficiary even if it was the result of an inadvertent error.

“The MTA will work with Mrs. Findel to review the circumstance of her case and reach a fair and equitable solution,” the agency said in a statement.

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