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Our next scheduled meeting is on
Monday, October 3, 2016 at 7:27 pm
at the Homefield House,
911 Saw Mill River Road, Yonkers, NY
"Refreshments to follow meeting"
"Have a Nice Safe Summer"
Meeting dates will be on the first Monday of the following months:
April, May, June, October, November and December
Emergency meetings be will called if needed and members notified by email.
Mount Vernon Owes Retired Firefighter $200K
LoHud Press: June 2, 2016
Michael Masullo, a retired disabled Mount Vernon firefighter, won an appellate court ruling June 1, 2016, that the city was wrong to strip him of benefits in 2009.(Photo: Submitted)
Mount Vernon will have to pay more than $200,000 to a retired firefighter after an appellate court found the city inappropriately cut off his disability payments in 2009.
The decision clears the way for Michael Masullo to collect seven years worth of payments he was denied.
Masullo, 52, said that the lost income and legal battle with the city caused significant stress – he blamed it for a heart attack he suffered four years ago – and that he was unable to pay for his daughter to attend her top choices for college. He even dodged calls from his lawyer for a time when he couldn’t afford to pay him.
“I based my life on (what I had been getting),” he said Thursday. “All of a sudden they cut you off. You feel like you’re being picked on.”
The Appellate Division, Second Department, ruled on Wednesday that a municipality cannot require an application for so-called supplemental pay – the difference between a firefighter’s disability pension and full salary – from firefighters who have already retired and received the payments.
Supplemental, or gap, pay is a benefit unique to firefighters in New York. It requires municipalities to continue paying firefighters even after retirement if they were permanently disabled due to a work-related injury.
The amount paid each year is the difference between the retiree’s disability pension and the current full salary they would have earned if still on the job. Gap pay is continued until the retiree reaches mandatory retirement age, usually 65.
Masullo joined the Mount Vernon Fire Department in 1990. He suffered a serious injury the following year when he fell 60 feet off an aerial ladder when the fire truck flipped onto its side. He was able to return to full duty in 1992.
He sustained another injury in 1996, and a third in August 2000 when a ceiling collapsed on him as he fought a fire. He never worked again after that incident, remaining on paid disability leave until the state comptroller approved his disability retirement in 2004.
The city’s practice at the time was to automatically provide gap pay to retirees who had been collecting disability pay while out of work. That was done with Masullo as well. Some time after his retirement the city adopted an eligibility policy in which retirees had to apply for the supplemental pay.
But the city continued paying Masullo. In 2008, he was informed that there was no record of his applying for the pay. The city decided he was being paid by mistake and the payments stopped.
His lawyer countered that by paying him for four years they had essentially determined he was eligible. The payments resumed but the city required Masullo to apply. He did and was denied after a doctor determined he was no longer permanently disabled.
Masullo sought a hearing but lost. He challenged the city in court and had lost there too until the appellate decision this week.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Richard Thomas had no immediate reaction to the decision but said in an email that the city was "weighing all its options." She did not elaborate. A lawyer who represented the city in the case did not respond to a phone message.
Masullo’s lawyer, Warren Roth, said the ruling took the issue a step further from a case he had successfully argued several years ago involving a Fairview firefighter. In that case, the court ruled that fire districts and municipalities could not reconsider awarded supplemental pay based on a retiree’s improved medical condition.
You can’t unring the bell (once you’ve been paying these benefits),” Roth said.
Masullo’s disability pension is now $48,418. A firefighter’s salary in Mount Vernon has risen from $75,000 to $81,000 since 2009, meaning he will be due an average of about $30,000 per year, not including interest.
The appellate decision sends the case back to acting state Supreme Court Justice Robert Neary to direct Mount Vernon to reinstate Masullo’s benefits and calculate the precise amount he is owed in salary and interest since February 2009.
The entire court decision is at:
and on our website under Member Resources / Legal Decisions
Two New Important Links Have Been Added
Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act
Coalition to Help Injured and Dying 9/11 Responders and Survivors
WTC HEALTH CARE LINK
The NYPFRA received the following information from the the PREA and we are forwarding to all of our online members & it will be in the next newsletter. I called the 1-877-263-7995 number below and it was suggested that all persons using the Empire Plan & NYSHIP to call ALLCLEAR ID for credit protection. Thank you for your attention in this matter. NYPFRA Newsletter Chairman- William Wicoff.
|Empire Plan and NYSHIP
Member Data Stolen
Anthem will also tell likely impacted current and former members by U.S. Postal Service how to enroll in free credit monitoring and identity protection services. Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack.
You should be aware of scam email campaigns targeting current and former Anthem members. These scams, designed to capture personal information (known as "phishing"), are designed to appear as if they are from Anthem and the emails include a "click here" link for credit monitoring. These emails are NOT from Anthem.
- DO NOT reply to the email or reach out to the senders in any way.
- DO NOT supply any information on the website that may open, if you have clicked on a link in email.
- DO NOT open any attachments that arrive with email.
Anthem is not calling members regarding the cyber attack and is not asking for credit card information or Social Security numbers over the phone. For more guidance on recognizing scam email, please visit the FTC Website: http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0003-phishing.
Anthem has established a dedicated toll-free number that you can call if they have questions related to this incident. That number is 877-263-7995.
Anthem, Inc., the parent organization for Empire BlueCross and BlueShield (the hospital administrator for The Empire Plan and the NYSHIP Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HMO) reported an extensive security breach of their member data on February 5. Names, dates of birth, member IDs/Social Security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and employment information of current and former members were impacted.
Sign-Up for Free 2 Year Identity Protection
Anthem is working with AllClear ID, a
trusted identity protection provider, to offer 24 months of identity theft repair and credit monitoring services to current or former members of an affected Anthem plan dating back to 2004. This includes customers of Anthem, Inc. companies Amerigroup, Anthem and Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield companies, Caremore, and Unicare. Additionally customers of Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies who used their Blue Cross and Blue Shield insurance in one of fourteen states where Anthem, Inc. operates may be impacted and are also eligible: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
AllClear ID is ready and standing by to assist you if you need identity repair assistance. This service is automatically available to you with no enrollment required. If a problem arises, simply call 877-263-7995 and a dedicated investigator will do the work to recover financial losses, restore your credit, and make sure your identity is returned to its proper condition. Call centers are open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m.. to 9 p.m.. ET. From Monday, Feb. 16 to Friday, Feb. 20, the call center will be open extended hours from 9 a.m.. to 11 p.m.. ET.
For additional protection, and at no cost, you may also enroll in the AllClear PRO service at any time during the 24 month coverage period.
This service includes credit monitoring and an identity theft insurance policy. Please enroll at https://anthem.allclearid.com/.
Those without Internet access or who prefer assistance via