NYC Disabled Firefighters Get Increased Benefits

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio and FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro have praised the enactment of a new State law providing more recently hired Tier 3 and Tier 6 New York City firefighters seriously injured in the line of duty with three-quarters of their final average salary after leaving the department. The new law is a codification of an agreement reached between the City and UFA in August 2015 – as part of the union’s contract agreement – to jointly pursue the required state legislation needed to provide enhanced disability protections for firefighters injured in the line of duty.

Since July 1 2009, any New York City firefighter hired thereafter, who sustained career-ending injuries while on the job, only received 50 percent of their salary, minus any social security payments they received. This new law immediately applies to nearly 2,000 firefighters hired after June 30, 2009.

“We struck an agreement last year and we said we’d do whatever it took to make sure that deal happened,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Working together with our labor partners, the State Legislature and the City Council, we have provided an important protection to nearly 2,000 firefighters whose benefits will now be comparable to that of their coworkers.”

“Firefighting is a dangerous job for all our members, but they all were not equally protected financially in the event they suffered a serious, job-related injury or illness,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro. “Nearly 2,000 firefighters are now eligible for enhanced pension benefits if they are injured on the job, as well as future firefighters. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, Mayor de Blasio, UFA President Cassidy, UFOA President Lemonda, and State and local officials for working together to support our Bravest.”

The agreement reached in August of last year and signed into law last week is fair to both firefighters and taxpayers. The City’s cost of the agreement will be $6.1 million in FY2017 growing to $12.6 million in FY2021. Firefighters will contribute an additional two percent of their salary for this enhanced benefit. The additional contribution may increase pursuant to an actuarial analysis completed every three years from the law’s effective date, but it cannot increase to more than three percent of salary.

As a result of City and employee contributions, Tier 3 and Tier 6 firefighters will have a disability benefit that is the equivalent of three-quarters of their final average salary over five years. As is the case under current law, no single year can exceed the prior four years by more than 10 percent. Additionally, existing presumptions under Tier 2 will be restored and firefighters’ social security will no longer offset the disability benefit offered by the City.