EMS, Corrections and Sanitation Members Urge Passage of Senator Golden and Assemblyman Abbate Bill Addressing Disability Pensions

Martin J. Golden

March 16, 2017

 Today, at a press conference held on the steps of City Hall,
State Senator Marty Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn) and Assemblyman Peter Abbate
(D-Brooklyn)  announced they are sponsoring a bill (S.1762/A.2988) that
would protect members of the public employee retirement systems from having
to endure repeat appeals from a retirement system determination denying a
disability pension when the reviewing Court finds that the denial was
arbitrary, capricious, and not supported by substantial evidence.

Frequently, applications for disability pensions are denied until the
application has been judicially reviewed and remanded. Even then, there is
no guarantee that the application will be granted and many disabled
retirement system members have to appeal to the Courts at least one more
additional time.

“Fighting the denial of a disability pension is very expensive, extremely
stressful and time consuming. The disabled person will have to pay court
costs and, most likely, attorney's fees to overturn the denial decision”,
stated Senator Marty Golden. “When signed into law, it will give judges
more authority to adjudicate disability cases fairly and expedite the
appeal process. It is important that our EMS, Corrections, Sanitation
personnel and other uniformed public employees are protected, legitimate
disability claims are approved and their pensions preserved.”

“I am proud to support and sponsor legislation that will impact the hard
working men and women who apply for disability pensions”, stated
Assemblyman Peter Abbate. “All too often those who apply for their
disability pensions are denied and have to go through a lengthy and
burdensome appeal process until a judge rightfully rules in their favor. We
must do all we can to help the public employees who become disabled, and
this will help ease the burden of fighting for their rightful pension and
stop the vicious cycle of appeals.”

Izzy Miranda, President of EMS Local 2507 stated “Many EMTs and Paramedics
have been denied a disability pension by NYCERS medical board. Although the
medical evidence may clearly indicate their disability. This legislative
initiative will provide a fair decision through the appeals process based
on the medical evidence by which a New York State Supreme Court Judge will
have the authority to grant such a disability pension.”

Harry Nespoli, President Uniformed Sanitationmens Association: "This
important legislation will allow our members who have already lost their
ability to work, are entitled to a timely determination of their pension
status, so they can move on with their lives. Justice delayed is justice
denied. I applaud Senator Golden and Assemblyman Abbate on their efforts
and hope this bill will soon become law."

COBA President Elias Husamudeen said, "Correction officers who are forced
to retire due to a disability have already suffered enough and should not
have to pay exorbitant costs or be forced to wait inordinate amounts of
time to get their disability pensions approved. We are grateful to Senator
Martin Golden and Assemblyman Peter Abbate for recognizing this problem and
introducing legislation to fix it. COBA will do everything we can to help
get this bill signed into law."