Officer's Disability Claim Problem - My9 New Jersey

Officer's Disability Claim Problem

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Trenton, New Jersey (My9NJ) -

When you get injured, the process of getting a through a disability claim can be a trying and difficult endeavor. But what happens when one doctor says you’re disabled and can no longer work, but the state still denies your disability claim? That’s exactly what happened to 35 year-old Corrections Officer James Pieper after breaking up a fight that left him severely injured on the job.

The fight left Pieper so injured that he needed surgery on his neck and back; placing titanium plates in his body.

“I was restraining two inmates who were fighting each other, as I took the one inmate to the ground I landed hard on my back. I pushed my spine upward and the inmate landed on top of me. The impact caused one disc in my back to be completely torn open, the other two to become herniated resulting in the surgeries that I had after,” he explained.

After two-years of exams and treatments and a 16 page report, both his state assigned surgeon and his job at the Juvenile Justice Commission said that he was disabled and could no longer work the job. However, the state still denied his disability claim.

The state says it denied his claim based on an independent examination done by another doctor who wrote up a six-page review acknowledging his injuries but said Pieper was fully healed.

“The initial response was after I applied for disability with the pension board. The pension board sent me to their own doctor for a supposed independent exam, I spent a total of seven minutes in his office, most of the time he was on his cellphone in and out of his office,” Pieper explained.

Although he disagrees with those findings, Pieper explained that he has a family to support so he went back to the Juvenile Justice Commission and told them that if the doctor said he was healed then he would try and go back to work. The only problem however is the fact that the JJC is still sticking by its initial review of Pieper; stating he is too injured to work.

Both the Juvenile Justice Commission and the pension board say they are sticking by their doctor reports and both say that the other side should relent their claim. Unfortunately, while this debacle continues to unfold, James Pieper and his family are facing foreclosure of their home, forcing them to move back in with his parents until a positive outcome can come about.

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