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Flanked by members of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94 and Uniformed Fire Officers Association (UFOA) Local 854, as well as New York City Council members outside City Hall, Local 94 President Steve Cassidy called on the Council to do its part in fixing a critical problem with the fire and police disability pension.

As it stands, new hires in the fire and police departments who become seriously injured or permanently disabled on the job would only be eligible for a paltry $27 per day (a number based on probationary fire and police personnel salary).

“New York City fire fighters are calling on the New York City Council Speaker and the Mayor to take swift and decisive action to correct this public safety crisis with an immediate home rule message,” says Cassidy.

In 2009, then-governor David Paterson failed to renew the New York City fire fighter and police Tier II pension disability protections, which led to benefit reductions for new hires. It was not an issue until recently because there were no affected new hires. That changed in January 2013.

Since then, the FDNY has hired more than 1,150 fire fighters. Another 280 graduated from the fire academy this week, and another 300 will enter the academy in about six weeks. If any suffer a career-ending disability in the line of duty, the limited disability pension protection they are entitled to equals about $27 per day.

“It’s unacceptable,” Cassidy says. “Nobody would risk their lives for that. God forbid we have another terrorist attack. The citizens of New York want us to do our jobs.”

The first step in fixing the state-administered pension program is for the New York City Council to pass a home rule message to correct the problem.

Once that happens, then New York members can lobby state legislators to pass legislation to renew the New York City fire fighter and police Tier II pension disability protections.

On November 19, the UFA ran full page advertisements in several New York daily newspapers with the message that the City Council needs to stop putting other issues before public safety and issue the home rule message.