Brooklyn Borough President On 9/11 Disability Pensions

Steve Burns/WCBS 880

Officers Ill From 9/11 Say Red Tape Is Hindering Them From Getting Disability Pensions

September 10, 2018 - 3:22 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The toll of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks grows every year as more first responders come down with illnesses related to the toxic dust at ground zero.

But as WCBS 880’s Steve Burns reported Monday, proving such an illness in order to receive disability pensions is apparently getting more challenging.

Retired NYPD Lt. Maureen Donohue came down with ovarian cancer. She said she battled the cancer itself, and then had to battle the pension review board to prove the cancer was the result of her work at ground zero.

“They didn't have me down as having been there enough, despite roll calls; detail rosters,” Donohue said. “I was there approximately 400 hours.”

Donohue said it was only thanks to her saving memo books that she was able to prove she was there.

“This is bureaucracy,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, “red tape on steroids.”

Adams, himself a former police officer, said the Pension Review Board’s qualifications are too far strict.

“They're requiring multiple forms of proof of the presence of the officers – even if that officer is placed on the roll call,” he said.

To make matters worse, Adams said the city Law Department often has trouble finding records from that day.

“Something just doesn't sit right,” he said.

Adams is calling on the City Council to investigate.

“We said we would never forget, but too many agencies must have forgotten,” he said.