Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch has been engaged in a running dispute with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over disability benefits for City police officers. Currently, cops hired after July 2009 do not receive the same benefits as veterans. In fact, newer officers only receive 50 percent of their final pay for career ending injuries, while veteran officers receive 75 percent.
Now the city police union is enlisting the aid of Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a push to get the same disability benefits for newer cops. In a letter recently sent to the governor, Lynch accused de Blasio of playing politics and asked Cuomo to use his power to “correct this grave inequity.”
In June, the Mayor reached deals with unions that represent corrections officers, firefighters and sanitation workers to increase their disability pensions to the 75 percent threshold. In exchange these workers must make a contribution to the benefit program to cover the additional costs to the city. The PBA rejected this proposal, however, in light of the fact that police elsewhere in the state receive the higher rate and Cuomo has previously stated that all cops should be treated equally.
Moreover, the PBA had been in negotiations with the City Council to create a statewide minimum standard for police before the Mayor pushed through the deal with the other unions, derailing the legislative initiative in the process.
“We need your help to restore the disability benefit as soon as possible so that when New York City police officers are called into harm’s way, they are not left wondering whether they can afford to put their families at risk,” Lynch wrote.
Whether Gov. Cuomo will step in to resolve the dispute remains to be seen, however, a spokesman for the governor reportedly said that NYPD officers should be treated the same as other police officers in the state; and an official in the governor’s office added that the Mayor was carrying on a “vendetta” against the PBA. In the meantime, any police officer in New York who needs assistance obtaining disability benefits should engage the services of an experienced civil service disability claims attorney.