Tuesday, February 01, 2022

Blue Flu

Can't possibly defund this.
Thanks to Pennsylvania’s Heart and Lung Act, a disability benefit meant mostly for police and firefighters, Williams gets 100% of his $78,092 salary and isn’t required to pay state or federal taxes on it, at least a 20% raise. A Police Department directive, however, prohibits officers who are out with Heart and Lung claims from working any other job in any capacity.


All told, 14% of patrol officers are listed as Injured on Duty, according to The Inquirer’s analysis of internal Police Department documents. Judges, prosecutors, and defense lawyers have separately complained that the missing officers cause criminal cases to be delayed or dismissed.


Heart and Lung benefits are meant to be for a temporary disability, and its multistep claims process is subject to oversight. Even so, police and city officials say that too many officers frequently abuse this well-intentioned benefit, which has no cap on how long officers can stay out or how many times they can submit a claim. While officers are out, they continue to accrue vacation, unlimited sick time, and years served so they can retire with a full pension.

Sometimes news reports about abuses of disability claims are a bit absurd, but this does not seem to be one of those cases.