Monday, December 26, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work On Disability

Oh the joys of being a public employee. John Sierchio, crusader against police, firefighter disability fraud | NJ.com

You see in the real world if you file for disability you are usually in for a rough time. Even with disability insurance and social security it isn't a lot. And most people just have Social Security. But when you are a cop or a firefighter in New Jersey, disability doesn't look too bad.
Incredibly, a tax-free disability check after only five years of service can be more than a straight pension after 25 years.
So if you were faced with 20 years of risking your life for a pension, or 10 minutes of fraud for a better pension, which would you choose? Well it seems at least some of the NJ's finest are opting for the fraud.
Did I tell you the one about the firefighter who failed a drug test? He knew he was going to come back dirty for cocaine, so he filed a disability claim before he could be fired. He said he fell off a fire truck two years earlier and hurt his knee, and now we’re paying a drug user for the rest of his life.
Billions of dollars of fraud. Not very many people investigating. I don't could it be because the criminals are on the inside of the system?
In 2010, the state paid $163 million in disability pensions to cops and firemen, and in 20 years, if disabilities continue to climb at the current rate, the state will choke on a half-billion dollars in annual payments just to cops and firefighters, Sierchio says.
And as pensions get tightened in the years to come taking that bird in the hand might look better and better.

And of course, even it you wanted to do something, the system is rigged.
Here’s how to get a disability pension: Find two doctors (any two doctors) to attest to a “disability,” then get the medical review board to sign off — which is easy, experts say, because those doctors spend about 15 minutes with a patient and usually rubber-stamp the diagnoses from patients’ doctors.

In short, the system is rigged to say yes (experts say a state Supreme Court ruling that loosened the rules is greatly to blame), so even when Sierchio smells a rat, the board often has to grant the award.
While this story is about New Jersey, I am sure it isn't only happening in New Jersey.

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