Legislation sponsored by state Senator Joe Pennacchio (R- Morris/Passaic) preventing abuse of the state’s disability pension system has was approved, pending minor changes, by the State Pension and Health Benefits Review Commission on Friday, December 9, 2011. Responding to the panel’s vote, Senator Pennacchio issued the following statement:
“I’m pleased that the Commission has approved, with conditions, my legislation to address this very important issue. Disability pensions serve an important purpose for those injured in service to the public who incurred a legitimate disability that prevents them from continuing to work. However, this system should not become a haven for those seeking to cheat the system and collect lifetime benefits at taxpayer expense due to negligence or fraud.
“I understand and respect the Commission’s opinion that changes to the level of compensation offered to workers hurt on the job are necessary, and am committed to working with the panel’s members and my colleagues in the legislature to revise the bill to that end. I encourage the Senate President to post this legislation for committee markup and a Senate vote as soon as possible so that we may end the abuse of taxpayer dollars in the pension system.”