‘Moderately Severe Antisocial Ideas’

From The New York Times on Sunday: “The Disability Board that Couldn’t Say No

The story profiles the federal Railroad Retirement Board and notes that last year, it paid 49 out of 50 disability claims, apparently with very few questions asked. Until the late ’90s, the board’s medical standards employed “archaic diagnostic terms like ‘cretinism,’ ‘imbecility’ and ‘middle-class moronism.’ ” And, the story says, “simply having a repugnant’ scar could qualify someone as disabled.”

And also: “Railroad officials complained that disability benefits were given for medical conditions regardless of whether they actually impaired one’s ability to work. The conditions themselves were often vague. A worker, for example, could be considered disabled with ‘moderately severe antisocial ideas.’ What constituted an antisocial idea was open to interpretation.”

I wonder how they determined the severity of an antisocial idea.

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