ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signed a law increasing disability retirement benefits for recently hired New York City firefighters.
Addressing a gathering of firefighters Thursday in Manhattan, Cuomo said it’s an injustice for that group of 2,300 to have lower benefits than others for a dangerous job that’s getting harder, with a 12 percent increase in calls last year and with the department still not at full roster of 8,600.
“Firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep New Yorkers safe, and we must do everything we can to support them and their families,” Cuomo said.
In 2009, in an economy move, the state determined newly hired city firefighters would not receive traditional disability benefits, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported. That left them with as little as $27 a day in disability protection, should they be totally disabled on the job.
“How do you possibly justify a lower disability payment to the New York City firefighters than the firefighters in the rest of the state? They’re putting their life on the line,” Cuomo said before signing the new law.
It will provide accidental disability retirement benefits equal to three-quarters of average wages measured over five years, and also removes a Social Security offset, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“By restoring the three-quarter pension retirement plan, we are providing our heroes with the financial stability that they need and deserve,” Cuomo said. “This legislation corrects an inequality against New York City’s Bravest that has gone on for far too long.”
Legislative sponsors say this compromise, agreed to by the city and public employee unions, requires those eligible to initially contribute an additional two percent of wages that may be raised to a maximum of three percent.
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