In 2009 NY made a huge mess creating a class system in the FDNY, not anymore
When a fire breaks out, we don’t wonder if a firefighter will run into the burning building, we expect it. Over the last 15 years, the FDNY has been revered as one of the bravest and greatest fire departments in the country, but since 2009 these brave men and women have seen their lifeline cut by Albany politicians who are looking to save money by cutting the benefits that New York’s Bravest have earned.
The problems started in 2009 when the state passed a new pension “reform” law that reduced the benefits for new hires in the FDNY to 50%. This means that anyone hired after 2009 who became disabled was only eligible for benefits that were 50% of their pension. This set up a scenario in which older firefighters who were injured could get 75% of their pension while younger firefighters got significantly less, often times so little that if they were disabled the benefits level would be put them underneath the poverty line.
For six years, the Uniformed Firefighter Association (UFA) has been in Albany trying to get their disability benefits restored. As the only department in the state that faced this reduction they felt that it was unfair to their members and put older firefighters in a moral dilemma when entering a fire. In an interview with UCOMM Radio their President Stephen Cassidy said that this could cause older firefighters to hesitate in sending younger members into dangerous fires for fear of what would happen to them should they become disabled.
Finally, after six years and on the eve of the 15th anniversary of 9/11, Governor Cuomo has signed into law a change to the firefighters’ disability benefits. The new law will restore the benefits to 75% of the person’s final salary when they become disabled. “With this critical legislation, New York City Firefighters who put their lives on the line protecting the public will never have to worry about leaving themselves and their families destitute should they be seriously injured in the line of duty,” said Stephen Cassidy, President of the UFA in a statement. “All New Yorkers are now safer because of the restoration of these necessary benefits.”
The bill which passed overwhelmingly in the Assembly and unanimously in the Senate was long overdue. These brave men and women should not have their disability benefits used as a way to balance the state budget. After six years the state has stopped playing politics with the benefits that New York’s bravest have earned.