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Archive for February, 2011

Providence Firefighter Disability Pension Bill Nearing $16 Million

Monday, February 21st, 2011

According to WPRI, a payroll record analysis of Providence records, the accidental disability pensions awarded to firefighters will account for more than half of 2011’s $29 million dollars spent on pension payments.

In January, 438 firefighters received a taxpayer funded pension check. 258 of those receiving a check were accidental disability pensions. In providence, accidental disability pensions are not subject to taxes.

Steven Pare, the Providence Public Safety Commissioner, has claimed that he will look deeper into the police departments, fire departments and the pension costs and benefits once he takes charge.

Rhode Island appears to have a high number of disability pensions. In 2008, more than half (56%) of all pensions were due to accidental disability. In 2011, that rate inflated to 59%, more than any other category in Providence.

In 2011, Providence will pay more than $15 million in disability pension to former firefighters, again, more than any other category.

The numbers break down as follows: $160,056 for ordinary disability; $229,719 for court-awarded payments; $942,708 for accidental deaths; $1.5 million for fire widows; $2.1 million for accidental disabilities that lead to death and finally, $8.7 million for regular fire pensions.

Meanwhile, the Providence police department only makes up $7.1 million, or 30% of the $23.2 million dollar bill for 2011 pensions. To put it into perspective, 639 police officers received pension payments in comparison to the 438 firefighters receiving pensions.

Feds Find State of Virginia Violated Federal Disability Act

Friday, February 18th, 2011

According to Roanoke news, an investigation by the United States Department of Justice has found that the state of Virginia is in violation of the federal disabilities act. Feds are calling for the state to remove disabled individuals out of the institutions and for these individuals to be moved into a less restrictive setting.

Bill Hazel, Secretary of Health and Human Services finally received the results on Thursday, February 10th, 2010 for the investigation. The investigation, which began in 2008, found that the civil rights of Central Virginia Training Center residents were indeed violated. Though the investigation was conducted at the Lynchburg location, the violation was expanded and included all training centers in the state.

Unfortunately, Hazel noted that he felt there were no surprises in the findings. He also added that state officials need to both increase the number of community-based services for disabled individuals and also make improvements at the state training centers for all residents in order to keep them safe.

A $30 million dollar “down payment” was included by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell for this year to start making improvements to the state’s system. This funding would go toward helping people living in the communities, improving crisis stabilization and it would also put money toward the training centers for the necessary improvements.

The landmark 1999 Olmstead decision by the Supreme Court is enforced by the Justice Department. The Olmstead decision stated that unnecessary institutionalization of disabled individuals is indeed a form of discrimination.

$19k Workers Compensation Fraud to be Repaid by Coshocton Woman

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

$19,231 plus $500 in investigation fees is how much Mary Cox will pay in restitution to the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for her Workers’ Compensation fraud. The Coshocton, Ohio woman has pled guilty to fraud following an investigation that revealed that she had been working as a bartender while still receiving PTD (Permanent Total Disability) disability benefits from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for a workplace injury.

In a courtroom in Franklin County, in a Common Pleas Court, Ms. Cox pled guilty to fifth degree felony charges.

PTD benefits are benefits that are awarded to individuals who are physically incapable of returning to any type of employment, according to Bureau of Workers’ Compensation Administrator Steve Buehrer.

Buehrer adds that “it is unfortuate [when people] attempt to take advantage of this benefit.” Especially since there are “those truly in need of PTD, [who] are often facing a difficult future after being … injured … having no prospect of returning to their livelihoods.”

The Special Investigation Department of BWC began looking into Mary Cox’s case following an allegation that Cox was working at a local Veterans Foreign Wars (VWF) post as a bartender all while still receiving her PTD benefits. Cox began receiving PTD benefits in 2006 and it was verified that she had been working at the VFW starting in December of 2008.

Since the judgement, she has made a payment of $6,000. Sentencing will occur on March 31st.

Baltimore City College Student Lawsuit Claims Disability Services were Denied

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

According to Baltimore Sun, on Wednesday, the mother of a former Sophomore of Baltimore’s City College, filed a lawsuit against the school claiming that her son had been denied disability services. The mother also claims that her son had been repeatedly suspended, expelled and arrested at the school and that proper procedure for these processes were not followed as required by the law.

The lawsuit, which was filed on February 9th, 2011,) names several people as the defendants including: city schools CEO Andres Alonso, the city school board, various officials at the offices of support, safety and suspension, former City College Principal Tim Dawson, city school police Chief Marshall T. Goodwin, two city school police officers and the current Assistant Principal, Dale J. Halterman.

The family is currently said to be seeking a minimum of $75k in the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, claiming that there was negligence on the schools’ part. The mother claims that the school failed to enforce the laws that were made to protect handicapped students such as her son. She adds that the school had intentionally discriminated against the sophomore, punishing him for the various behaviors that are associated with his particular disability.