By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Two Brooklyn lawmakers from opposing political parties are working across the aisle to help ease the burden on public employees, like EMS workers, seeking disability pensions.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) and Assemblymember Peter Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) are sponsoring a bill in their respective legislative houses that seeks to protect public employees from having to endure repeat appeals on their applications for disability pensions.
The proposed legislation would apply to those workers whose disability pension applications have been turned down and in cases where a reviewing court has found that the denial was arbitrary, capricious and not supported by substantial evidence.
Golden said that the bill would give judges more authority to expedite the appeal process.
“Fighting the denial of a disability pension is very expensive, extremely stressful and time consuming. The disabled person will have to pay court costs and, most likely, attorney's fees to overturn the denial decision. It is important that our EMS, corrections, sanitation personnel and other uniformed public employees are protected, legitimate disability claims are approved and their pensions preserved,” Golden said in a statement.
“All too often those who apply for their disability pensions are denied and have to go through a lengthy and burdensome appeal process until a judge rightfully rules in their favor. We must do all we can to help the public employees who become disabled, and this will help ease the burden of fighting for their rightful pension and stop the vicious cycle of appeals,” Abbate stated.
Izzy Miranda, president of EMS Local 2507, endorsed the Golden-Abbate bill.
“This legislative initiative will provide a fair decision through the appeals process based on the medical evidence by which a New York State Supreme Court judge will have the authority to grant such a disability pension,” Miranda said.