NJ’s Extreme Disability Payouts - My9 New Jersey

NJ’s Extreme Disability Payouts

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Mark Lagerkvist with NJ Watchdog recently broke a story about a transit police officer who is collecting a lifetime disability pension from the state of New Jersey because of an accident with a staple gun.

“This has to be the most expensive staple in New Jersey history. A transit officer at the firing range, his target blows down, he takes a staple gun to reattach the target and he accidentally staples his hand, let’s say the ring finger of his non-shooting hand and the long of it short is, he’s determined to be totally and permanently disabled for life. No longer able to shoot a gun, no longer able to handcuff anybody, but the reality of it is we had video of him at a firing range recently shooting a high powered rifle and this is a man who’s on disability because he supposedly can long shoot a gun,” Lagerkvist said.

So the question remains, how does the state actually determine who is permanently disabled and eligible for a lifetime of compensation?

“Well, the state looks at the doctor’s statements. Both the state’s doctors and his doctors and of course this guy is applying for disability pension so they look at that and they basically approve it and they approve a lot of these things,” Lagerkvist said.

At first glance it looks like this former transit offer is going to collect almost $50,000 a year tax free for the rest of his life which over the span of his lifetime could add up to millions of dollars coming from taxpayers, but the cop is saying that isn’t necessarily the case because after the incident he was forced to retire.

“He said he never really wanted to retire, he wanted to keep working. Since they said he couldn’t shoot a gun and didn’t offer him another job he has o choice but to retire. He said it’s ridiculous and thinks it’s absurd even though he’s the one getting $46,000 a year tax free,” Lagerkvist said.

New Jersey alone is paying out more than $200 million a year in disability pay and Lagerkvist feels like something needs to be done to stop these extreme payouts. “It’s got to be the legislature; they’ve got to change the law because the law clearly allows this to happen I mean you might not like the idea of the guy with the staple in his hand getting $2 million for the rest of his life, but what he’s doing is perfectly legal under this system, it doesn’t seem right, but its’ legal,” he said.


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