UPDATED
April 7, 2012




HEALTH & WELFARE
 

April 7, 2012        NYPD DEA DENTAL BENEFITS UPGRADED
                                         FOR FLORIDA RETIREES

Click on this link for the complete information: images/DEA FL Dental Benefits.jpg

March 24, 2012       IMPORTANT UPDATE TO PBA DRUG PLAN

In case you haven't received the letter from the NYPD PBA dated February 23rd, the announcement is that the prescription drug plan lifetime cap for eligible retirees of $120,000 has been eliminated. Any eligible member who has exceeded the lifetime cap in the past is now eligible for prescription drug coverage as of March 1, 2012.

The annual cap still remains in effect and any questions can be answered at Caremark Customer Care at 877-722-7911 or at the PBA Funds Office at 212-349-7560.

December 8, 2011      INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR DD-214

This info just came to me from my good friend Mike Maurer. Ret. NYPD & US Army. It may help someone out there, so forward it to your friends. 

Ret. Sgt. Tom Moriarty.

Please pass on to other vets. It's official: DD-214 discharge papers are NOW ONLINE. The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214s online:

http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/

This may be particularly helpful when a veteran needs a copy of his/her DD-214 for employment purposes. NPRC is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files.

Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents.

Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site. Because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized. The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records centers mailroom and processing time.

Please pass this information on to former military personnel you may know and their dependents.

October 16, 2011      STEPS TO TAKE UPON DEATH OF RETIREE

We received this useful information from Lou Hollander:

As you are well aware of, I unfortunately have been sending out obituary notices for retired and active MOS.  This unpleasant task seems to be happening more often.  It seems when this happens, the family is so overwhelmed they don’t realize what notifications have to be made. 

With the assistance of Bobby Ganley, NYPD SBA, Bill Larney, NYPD LBA and the NYPD SOC, I compiled some information that may be very helpful to your loved ones should the situation arise. If I have overlooked something of importance, please let me know and I will update this list.  I have attached the list as a .doc file.  You will need to have MS Word installed on your PC to open it to view or print.  If you don’t have MS Word, you can download a free MS Word viewer http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=4  With this program you can view and print Word documents.  If you want, I can send you the file in .pdf format, which will allow you to view and print as long as you have Adobe Reader installed on your PC.  It may be a good idea to print this out and store with your important papers.

Click here for the attachment Lou sent describing the procedures to follow.

October 4, 2011
               20 YEAR GUARANTEED PENSION BILL SIGNED INTO LAW

This was taken from the LBA web page.  A letter written by LBA President Tommy Sullivan,  (Proud to call one of our own), to his membership regarding the guaranteed 20 year pension.  Please click on the link below.

Guaranteed Pension Bill

I am pleased to report that Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has signed the "Guaranteed Pension after 20 Years of Service" bill into LAW!

This new law amends the New York City Administrative Code to protect uniformed police and fire officers, with 20 or more years of service, from losing their pensions if they are fired.

Click here --->to read the letter from LBA President Tom Sullivan (PDF)

October 4, 2011     IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON ASBESTOSIS

President Ed Russo received the following important information:

Hello Ed, 

My name is Frank Matijevich, retired NYPD and I own the NYPDTPF website.  I know there is an issue with some of your Brother's and "asbestos" related illnesses.  Last year I helped out Tony Greco, retired Transit PD, when I was contacted through my website.  He suffered from severe asbestosis in both lungs.

I'm a bit of an expert on the subject, being a lifelong member of the Asbestos Workers Union.  My Dad got me into the union and I worked with that poison for 4 years before coming on the job in February, 1968.  I live in Port St Lucie, FL, and I am in regular contact with Jim Grogan, the President of the Asbestos Workers Union. Myself, I have developed asbestosis in both lungs but I'm not that bad like other guys.

Your Brothers were exposed to the microscopic dust emitted by the brakes of the subway cars every time they entered a station and stopped. I know that Workmen's Comp has turned down a lot of claims and made it very difficult for your Brothers to file claims and start legal action.

If you or anyone needs any info on the problem, get in touch with me. My email is Frankfla772@yahoo.com and my phone number is 772-240-1676.  Feel free to contact me anytime.

Frank Matijevich
Retired NYPD
TPF/ESU

PS: I'm not bragging, but I grew up with Peter Marsella.

Thank you for that information, Frank, and let's hope and pray the cases remain low.

August 14, 2011   MEDICARE PART 'B' REIMBURSEMENT FOR 2010

2010 Medicare Part B Premium Reimbursement Checks as sent by Lou Hollander

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

The standard reimbursement check amount for Calendar Year 2010 is $96.40 per person per month for most people. If you were enrolled in Medicare Part B after 1/1/2010 then your reimbursement is $110.50 a month. The checks are being mailed beginning the second half of the month of August.

Question: Many people received their check and I didn’t get mine yet. What should I so?

Answer: You must wait until the first week of October and then write to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn: Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006. Include the retiree's Social Security number, current address, telephone number, and a copy of your Medicare card. The investigation process takes approximately 6-8 weeks from receipt of the information.

Question: The check that I received is not the correct amount. What should I do?

Answer: You have to write to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn: Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006. Include your name, Social Security number, current address and telephone number, and a copy of your Medicare card. State the reason you believe the check amount is incorrect. The investigation process takes approximately 6-8 weeks from receipt of the information.

Question: The check that I received is torn/ripped and the bank will not cash it. What should I do?

Answer: You have to return the check to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn:
Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006. Include your name and Social Security number. A
replacement will be issue in approximately 6-8 weeks.

Question: I am the retiree and received a check for my spouse who died. What should I do?

Answer: Return the check and explain the reason for the return of the check. Include both the retiree’s and spouse’s name, Social Security numbers, address, and a copy of the death certificate. Mail the information to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn: Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006.

Question: My spouse was a City retiree who died before the checks were issued. How do I claim the reimbursement?

Answer: Write to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn: Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006. Include the retiree’s name, Social Security number, your name, your address, and a copy of the death certificate. Request an affidavit form to claim the reimbursement.

Question: I am a City retiree. Is my spouse entitled to Medicare Part B reimbursement?

Answer: You are eligible for the reimbursement for your spouse if your spouse is covered on your health plan and was enrolled in Medicare Part B in 2010. A copy of the spouse’s Medicare card (along with your name and Social Security number) has to be sent to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn: Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006.

Question: How do I enroll for Medicare Part B reimbursement?

Answer: Send a copy of your Medicare card(s) to the Health Benefits Program, 40 Rector Street, Attn: Medicare Unit, New York, NY 10006. The information should be submitted when you are issued your Medicare card.

Question: Do I have to re-enroll every year for Medicare Part B Reimbursement?

Answer: No, but if you change your address or if one of the recipients dies, you must notify the Health Benefits Program, in writing. The address is 40 Rector Street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10006.

Question: I paid more than the standard premium for Medicare Part B in 2010. Am I entitled to the higher premium reimbursement?

Answer: You may be entitled to the higher reimbursement. Follow the instructions on the Medicare Part B reimbursement check stub to get more information.

July 16, 2011     CATASTROPHIC INSURANCE AVAILABLE 

We wish to thank Ret. P.O. Bob Geary for sending this information.

When I retired, I took a job with another company that also had medical benefits. I thought I was well covered, having this as primary and the City as a secondary.
 
In 1997, after a 17 year remission, my wife’s cancer came back with a vengeance. The oncologist gave her six months but had a treatment that he wanted to try. He wanted $20,000 up front, but I thought I would get it back from the insurances.  Wrong!

She went through two years of heavy chemotherapy with three autologous stem-cell treatments.  The protocol worked and gave us ten years.  At the end of the treatments I still owed well over $60,000.  This doctor was good and was willing to take payments over time when I could send money.

After I retired, I joined the Civil Service Retired Employee’s Association (www.CSREA.org).  I found that this organization is for all civil service retirees, not cop oriented.  They have a catastrophic insurance policy, which I ignored because I had double coverage. Shoulda, coulda, woulda.

This insurance is cheap.  It has a high deductible, but that should be covered by our basic insurance.

I would urge anyone who is retired or getting ready to retire, take a look at this.  I am not a shill for the CSREA, but I don’t want anyone to get stuck like I was.

Stay healthy,

RET. P.O. Bob Geary We2gearys@aol.com

April 27, 2010   IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR DISABILITY MEMBERS
We wish to thank Ret. NYPD Lt. Bob Stainkamp for forwarding this important information:

We have just received an alert from our New York Office (See Below) which is in regards to a certain number of disability retirees who opted not to receive Medicare Part "B" when they were approved for Medicare Disability.  Those retirees must keep in mind that there is no forgiveness of penalties when they reach socia l security normal retirement age.  Also, they will not be eligible to receive Medicare Reimbursement which we fought so valiantly to receive.  Further, it is most likely that the city and those agencies providing a doubly covered benefit will be seeking to drop those who are no longer eligible.

Fraternally yours,
Richard J. Carroll
Chief of Operations


ALERT FOR SOCIAL SECURITY PERMANENTLY DISABLED

Please be aware that our Office of Labor Relations, Retirees Benefit Section, Summary Program Description mandates that retirees when approved for Social Security disability must accept both Plan A and Plan B. Retirees frequently call Medicare and are told by Medicare representatives that Plan B is optional, since they are not aware of the New York City mandate. The retiree upon receiving their Medicare card indicating ",A," and "B" coverage mus t send a copy to the Retired Employee Benefit Section, 40 Rector St., 3"d floor, New York, NY 10006, to be included in the City rebate program . Rebates are mailed each August for months that you are charged in the previous calendar year. Failure to follow these guidelines may resul t in loss of Health coverage. The same rule applies to spouses o f retirees that are covered by the City Health plans.

February 13, 2009  IMPORTANT INFORMATION ON SURVIVOR BENEFITS
We wish to thank Ret. P.O. Jim Groark for the following important information:

"
I was recently able to assist my sister-in-law in receiving PBA Welfare Fund benefits and the Medicare Part 'B' re-imbursement.  Maureen's husband, Ed, retired on the Heart Bill and, like so many of our police officers, passed away a few years later from a heart attack, leaving his wife and family without benefits. 

A few years ago, the PBA had a bill passed in Albany that gave spouses of deceased police officers who retired on 3/4 disability, the benefits in their Welfare Fund and eligibility for the Medicare Part 'B' re-imbursement.  Needless t o say, this information will be helpful to some widows and their families.

I would suggest they start with either the PBA at 125 Broad Street., NY NY 10004-2400,
212-298-9100 or the NYC Office of Labor Relations Employee Benefits Program at 3rd floor - Retiree Section, 40 Rector St. , NY NY 10006  tel. #212-513-0470 or 212-306-7753.  If possible, they should go in person to make an application for benefits. 

If anyone has a problem, I would be happy to help them.  Feel free to contact me at my home - 631-586-4529.

Jim, the information you provided will be extremely helpful to concerned surviving spouses and the membership appreciates the trouble you have gone through to help your fellow Transit retiree.  Thanks again!

July 4, 2008                   UPDATE FROM D.I. JOHN FERRANTE
Ret. DI John Ferrante recently sent us the following update on his case with the I.R.S. 

"I received the official letter from the IRS closing out my case. Also, I received a response from the NYC Employees Retirement System confirming that  Workmen's Compensation is not taxable, however, they didn't answer the question of why they discontinued stamping the 1099 tax form with tax excluded Workers Comp..      John Ferrante

Thanks for the info, John.  Sounds like NYCERS screwed up and won't admit it. - Tony

June 17, 2008    TAX INFORMATION NEEDING SOME CLARIFICATION
Ret. DI John Ferrante recently sent us the following information:

"Last week I received a letter from the IRS. It appears that the NYC Employee Pension System has changed the 1099 form. For Accidental Disability pensioners, the last 1099 form in 2005, had *EXCL AS WKRS COMP listed and in the taxable amount box- NONE. Starting in 2006, the pension system has deleted the WKRS COMP entry and in the taxable amount box entered - 00. The IRS letter wanted to know if pension money was an annuity, IRA or regular taxable pension. They sent me a bill for over $16,000!

I was lucky to get thru to the IRS and explained that I was a police officer injured in the line of duty. The IRS clerk then said they would close this case. I had called the NYPD CEA and they knew nothing about this. It appears that the Transit Police members, all ranks, may be audited as I was. We have to get to the NYC retirement system to avoid this confusion and have them return the entry on the 1099 form "EXCL AS WKRS COMP."  

Have a nice summer and hope to see you at the METS game in the fall.

From Ret. Lt. Jack Rooney, I received this information:

According to an article in the "Retirees Corner" of a recent NYPD LBA newsletter, an IRS tax exclusion of up to $3000 is allowed if premiums for accident or health insurance or long term care insurance is deducted from the pensioners monthly allowance.

From IRS Publication 575 pages 5 and 6.

 

Insurance Premiums for Retired Public Safety Officers

If you are an eligible retired public safety officer (law enforcement officer, firefighter, chaplain, or member of a rescue squad or ambulance crew), you can elect to exclude

from income distributions made from your eligible retirement plan that are used to pay the premiums for accident or health insurance or long-term care insurance.  The

premiums can be for coverage for you , your spouse, or dependents. The distribution must be made directly from the plan to the insurance provider. You can exclude from income the smaller of the amount o f the insurance premiums or $3,000. You can only make this election for amounts that would otherwise be included in your income. The amount excluded from your income cannot be used to claim a medical expense deduction.

 

    An eligible retirement plan is a governmental plan that is: a qualified trust, a section 403(a) plan, a section 403 (b) plan or a section 457 (b) plan.

 

If you make this election, reduce the otherwise taxable amount of your pension or annuity by the amount excluded. The amount shown in box 2a of Form 1099-R does not reflect this exclusion. Report your total distributions on Form 1040, line 16a; Form 1040A, line 12a; or Form 1040NR, line 17a. Report the taxable amount on Form 1040, line 16b; Form 1040A, line 12b; or Form 1040NR, line 17b. Enter “PSO” next to the appropriate line on which you report the taxable amount.

If anyone has a more thorough (and easier) explanation of these items, please contact me at alomanto@optonline.net and I will post it here.

June 15, 2007 -   HEARING AID INFORMATION FOR MILITARY RETIREES
The following information was sent by Ret. P.O. Sam D'Apice:

There is a program that provides audiology (hearing) services to military retirees and hearing aids at cost, as well as reduced prices for batteries and free exams.  The Military Audiology Association makes these services available at several military bases around the country (unfortunately none in Arizona, but there is one at Nellis AFB, Nevada).

Here is the Web site:  http://www.militaryaudiology.org/.  Click on the Hearing Aid link and learn more about these services.

As a caveat, you should probably check with the VA here (or in your locality) to see if similar services might be available to you through VA without necessitating travel, but a friend tells us she has ordered her hearing aids from Nellis at a very reduced price.  Be sure to read the
information on the Web site carefully.

Thanks, Sam.  I'm sure there are quite a few Transit retirees who are somewhat "hard of hearing" from all those years on train patrol who could use this service. - Tony

April 3, 2007 -   LETTER OF AFFIRMATION TO IRS FOR 3/4 RETIREES
The following information was forwarded from Lou Hollander:
 
For those 3/4 disability retirees who are concerned about the removal of the
*EXCL AS WKRS COMP"
from the bottom of their 1099 form, a simple letter to the NYC Employees Retirement System requesting a Letter of Affirmation verifying your accidental disability retirement status, should help.
 
In response to the City of New York removing the Workers Comp statement from the 3/4 disability retirees 1099 form, I sent a letter to the NYC Employees Retirement System requesting they send me a Letter of Affirmation tha t my pension was excludable as Worker's Comp, and tax free.  The City immediately responded back with such a letter. The letter acknowledges accidental disability pension retirement, with a tax-free benefit for life, and that there is a Worker's Compensation offset to the benefit payable.
 
Bill Sorrentino beachlaw1@cfl.rr.com

Should anyone need a copy of Bill's letter as a guide, let me know and I will e-mail it to you. Lou Hollander   keystonecop@tampabay.rr.com

March 15, 2007 -                911 PENSION RE-CLASSIFICATION ISSUES
The following information was forwarded from Lou Hollander:

Hello Everyone:

I need your help spreading the word on a time sensitive matter. It is regarding possible WTC re-classification for retired NYPD members of the service who were either assigned to Ground Zero/Landfill (or designated areas) or volunteered their time to assist after retirement.
 
As many of you are aware, unforeseen WTC health related issues are being diagnosed daily for those who responded and participated in WTC related duties. Many responders now have lung disease, cancer related illnesses and severe psychological issues. Additionally, many of those who have been diagnosed have retired from NYPD.
 
If you or someone you know has retired since working these areas and has been diagnosed with having WTC related health issues, you may have been told by your previous Union or NYPD’s Health Services Division that you cannot resubmit papers amending your pension/disability requests. You are not alone. 
 
I have been fortunate enough to have someone in Senator Clinton’s office that will assist me in possibly getting my own pension re-classified. Of course there are no guarantees. The contact person is Colleen Burns. I have volunteered to assist Colleen in gathering information. We are looking to see how many people are interested in joining this group.
 
Colleen needs such requests in writing. Her fax number is 212-688-7444. Please do not send via regular U.S. mail or priority mail service. Mail to the Senator’s office is re-routed to Washington before coming into the NY office. It will take weeks to get to her. Also, we ask that you do not call the office yet.
 
If you are in this situation or if you know someone who is, please have them write a VERY SHORT letter (one page maximum). The letter is to be faxed to Colleen. 
 
Your opening statement should indicate that you are seeking reclassification of your pension based on new medical information and you need Senator Clinton’s assistance in the matter. Colleen’s name needs to be clearly displayed on your request, as well as Senator Clinton’s name. Please also include the following facts:
 
  • You are a retired NYPD officer. Include your rank and retirement date.
  • You participated at Ground Zero/Landfill (whatever your location) from “date” to “date”.
  • The duties you performed while volunteered or assigned. 
  • Date seen by a doctor and date of diagnosed “illness” related to work at Ground Zero (Attach a doctor’s note, if available. If not, provide your treating physician’s contact information).
  • Date screened by Mt. Sinai, if applicable. Date you have an appointment with Mt. Sinai would also help. If you need Mt. Sinai’s phone number, it is 212-241-1554 (note: there is at least a 3 month backlog if you are making an appointment for an initial screening).
  • List the best way to contact you (phone number or email).
 
Lastly, please state on the fax that I referred you.
 
If you need help with this for any reason, please contact me at the number below. It would also be helpful if you advise me when you are faxing. We want to ensure your fax does not get lost. I will confirm whether or not Colleen received it. That should be all for now.
 
Please try to get this done within the week. First come, first served.
 
If you have any questions, please call me at 917-836-7936. If you would like to be included in any information I receive regarding this matter, please email me at acccourtservices@aol.com. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for your help.
 
 
Leslie Cardona

January 20, 2007 -            IMPORTANT INFORMATION FROM ED RUSSO
I have attained information for members wishing to check on companies, establishments, doctors, lawyers, etc., anyone with a New York State license. The NY State office will give you any complaints, suspensions, or fines levied on them by the state.  I have used this and it is very effective.  Members can call me for additional information at 718-428-4344
 
NYS Education Department
Office Of The Professions
Albany, NY
Tel: 518 474-3817
www.op.nysed.gov 

November 18, 2006      UPDATE ON LINE OF DUTY INJURIES
President McKeon found the following article by reporter Lisa Colangelo in the November 15th issue of "The Daily News."  It affects uniformed officers who sustained line-of-duty injuries between 1989 and 2005.

Tax Settlement

The City's Law Department reached a settlement with the IRS, which will reimburse civil servants who paid Social Security and Medicare taxes on their line-of-duty payments.
That means more than 70,000 cops, firefighters and other uniformed city workers will share a $140 Million settlement.

The announcement marks the end of a protracted battle between the city and the IRS over the taxation of uniformed workers - police officers, firefighters, sanitation workers and correction officers - who are injured in the line of duty.

But it's not clear whether and how this settlement will affect retired workers who are receiving Social Security.  One retiree is now fretting that his monthly payments will be reduced if he accepts the reimbursement. 

Since 1992, the city has told the IRS it should not be taking Social Security and Medicare taxes from line-of-duty injury payments.  The city argued these payments are similar to Worker's Compensation payments which are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes and apply to other city workers.  The City eventually sued the IRS.

"It's a fascinating legal issue, and a thrill to prevail at the end,"  said Karen Griffin, a senio r counsel in the Law Department's appeals division who has worked on the case for more than 10 years. 

"Uniformed forces will be treated as they should be treated.  They are in high risk industries as it is."

In addition to this article, I received information from a fellow Security Officer at St. Francis Hospital, Ret. PO Edward Keevan who started in Transit and switched over to NYPD in the early '90s (and regrets it).  Ed tells me there is a number to call for information on the settlement above.  It is 212-669-2333.

April 30, 2006 - UPDATE ON MILITARY TIME BY RON FORTE

The following is an excerpt from the Social Security website regarding Military time and Social Security benefits as researched by 1st VP Ron Forte:

Since 1957, if you had military service earnings for activeduty (including active for training), you paid Social Security taxes onthose earnings and they are on your record. Inactive duty service inthe Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) has been covered bySocial Security since 1988. People who served in the military before1957 did not pay into Social Security directly, but when they apply forbenefits, their records are credited with special earnings for SocialSecurity purposes that count toward any benefits that might be payable.
Under certain circumstances,special earnings for periods of active duty can be credited to yourmilitary pay record for Social Security purposes. These extra earningsmay help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of yourSocial Security benefit. For military earnings from 1968 to thepresent, these were included when we prepared the benefit estimates foryour Statement. However, they are not displayed in the year-by-yearlist of earnings on page 3 of your Social Security Statement.Extra credits for military service from 1941 - 1967 will be added whenyou actually apply for benefits and provide proof of that service.

How Special Military ServiceCredits Are Granted

Note:Change in military service credits. InJanuary 2002, Public Law 107-117, the Defense Appropriations Act,stopped the special extra earnings that have been credited to militaryservice personnel. Your military service in calendar year 2002 andfuture years no longer qualifies for these special extra earnings.The information that follows applies only to your military serviceearnings from 1940 through 2001. 

Service From 1978 Through 2001

For every $300 in active duty basicpay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to amaximum of $1,200 a year. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, anddidn't complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour,you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check withSocial Security for details.

Credits For Service In 1957Through 1977 

You are credited with $300 inadditional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you receivedactive duty basic pay.

Service In 1940 Through 1956 

If you were in the military duringthis period, including attendance at a service academy, you did not paySocial Security taxes. However, under the following circumstances, yourSocial Security record may be credited with $160 a month in earningsfor military service from September 16, 1940, through December 31, 1956:

you were honorably dischargedafter 90 or more days of service, or you were released because of adisability or injury received in the line of duty; or
you are still on active duty; or
you are applying for survivorsbenefits and the veteran died while on active duty.
You cannot receive these specialearnings credits if you're already receiving a federal benefit based onthe same years of service. But there is one exception to this rule: ifyou were on active duty after 1956, you can still get the specialearnings for 1951 through 1956, even if you're receiving a militaryretirement based on service during that period.

You can get both Social Securitybenefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no offset ofSocial Security benefits because of your military retirement. You willget your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings. However,Social Security survivors' benefits may affect benefits payable underthe optional Department of Defense Survivors Benefit Plan. Check withthe Department of Defense or your military retirement advisor for moreinformation.

If you have health care protectionfrom the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or under the TRICARE (formerly CHAMPUS) orCHAMPVA program, your health benefits may change or end when you becomeeligible for Medicare. You should contact the Veterans Administration, the Departmentof Defense or a military healthbenefits advisor for more information.

 

April 1, 2006 - INFORMATION ON MILITARY TIME & SOCIAL SECURITY

Our thanks to Ret. PO John Curtin for sending us this information:

When I applied for Social Security in 2001, I hadn't known that veterans are entitled to extra payments for the time they served in the military. I found out about this in Charles Drha's VETERANS AFFAIRS column in the CIVIL SERVICE SENTINEL of Dec., 2005.

I then notified the Social Security office in Oneonta and presented a copy of my D.D.214. Yesterday I received a letter from S.S. telling me that future S.S. checks would include an additional $25.00 {because of my military service] and that I would receive the sum of $1,150.00 as retroactive payments.

There are probably other retired TPOs who are veterans but unaware of the benefits to which they are entitled - or am I the only guy who never gets the word?

John A. Curtin
Ret. Ptl. (and 4-year military vet)
 E-mail  seanandpam@frontiernet.net

January 29, 2006 -   IMPORTANT NEWS FOR POST 9/11 RETIREES
Our thanks to Alan Berkowitz for sending this important information:
 
       TO ALL CONCERNED: PLEASE Forward the following information to all Police Officers and Firefighters who retired after September 11, 2001, and who worked at the World Trade Center or any other recovery location listed in the information package attached. This is very important for all police officers and firefighters to fill out and send back to the NYPD or the FDNY Pension Section even if you're in good health! This affidavit is NOT for RETIREES who responded to the WTC or any of the Sanitation Facilities. I repeat, this information is too important to disregard. Please forward to all Active and Retired Members of The Service.
 
 
 
                                                           Alan Berkowitz
                                                              President
                                                           Broward 10-13
 
PS: If unable to open please go to the NYPD Pension Sections Website and look under
What's New Section

December 4, 2005 -   
         
SCHOOL TAX RELIEF FOR RETIREES IN NEW YORK STATE
For most retirees living in New York, there is the NY State STAR exemption that exempts up to $30,000 of the assessed value of the primary residence from school taxes.  For those retirees 65 years or older (either of the homeowners) there is the Enhanced STAR program that exempts the first $50,000 of the assessed value.  The income requirement for this program is no more than $66,050.  The amount changes each year due to the cost of living.  The amount can be found at your town's assessment office. Filing for the Enhanced STAR application should be filed by December 31, 2005. For those living in Nassau County, the BASIC STAR and the ENHANCED STAR applications are available at the Nassau County Department of Assessment. You may also call at (516) 571-1500 and request an application be mailed to you. Additional locations and deadline reminders will be advertised.

November 14, 2005 -   THE NYPD SBA AND THE MEDICARE DRUG PLAN
The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 amended the Social Security Act by creating Medicare Part D, a prescription drug benefit, which will be effective January 1, 2006 . All Sergeants Benevolent Association members, spouses or dependents whom are Medicare qualified, will participate in this program.

The SBA has been pursuing a plan of action whose goal is to provide Medicare qualified members and their Medicare qualified dependents with a pharmaceutical plan. After comprehensive evaluation it was determined our basic retiree coverage would need to be modified to be qualified under the Medicare guidelines. It is with this in mind Chairman Ed Mullins and the Board of Trustees of the Sergeants Benevolent Association Health and Welfare Fund has voted to amend our prescription drug benefit plan, creating SBA Part D, for our Medicare eligible participants so they will receive coverage set forth by the Medicare guidelines. Each eligible participant will now have their own individual coverage under the new SBA Part D plan.

The SBA Part D benefit is as follows:

  • $6,000.00 Individual Maximum Allowable Benefits
  • 30% Co-Pay on Generic Drugs
  • 30% + $5.00 Co-pay on Brand Drugs

The following drug classes will have limitations:

 PROTON PUMP INHIBITORS - Brand name coverage will be limited to Protonix which will have a 50% co-pay. The generic drug Omeprazole is subject to standard plan co-pay and all members are eligible for our free Prilosec OTC program.

NON-SEDATING ANTI-HISTAMINES - Brand name coverage will be limited to Clarinex and Zyrtec which will have a 50% co-pay. All generic drugs (i.e., Fexofenadine) in this class are subject to standard plan co-pay and all members are eligible for our free Alavert OTC program.

All other guidelines of the SBA Plan, as outlined in the current Drug Summary Plan Description, will still be in effect.

No Premiums! No Deductibles! No Donut Hole of 100% Out of Pocket!

Please note this change will have no impact on member dependent coverage where a member, spouse or dependent become Medicare eligible and the remaining members of the family are not. In those cases we have actually enhanced the benefit, for the non-Medicare eligible family member(s), to a $6,000.00 family cap. Coverage maximum allowable benefits are based on a plan fiscal year July 1-June 30.

All SBA members, spouses or dependents who are Medicare qualified or become Medicare qualified in the future will automatically be enrolled in the SBA Part D Pharmaceutical Plan.

 **Members who are currently enrolled in a Medicare Advantage Program HMO, ex: HIP VIP, Cigna, Humana, Oxford Medicare Advantage, that has a prescription component in the base plan, are automatically being registered with Medicare by their carrier as having credible prescription coverage. Members must notify the SBA Health and Welfare if they have this type of coverage so we can coordinate both plans with Medicare.

 For additional information on NYC Health Plans please visit the NYC Office of Labor Relations web site at www.nyc.gov/olr.

The SBA has created a comprehensive benefit. As a creditable plan it allows our Medicare qualified S.B.A. members, spouse or dependents to remain with the SBA plan and not be mandated to sign on to a regional Pharmacy Drug Program (P.D.P.). However there may be circumstances where a member, spouse or qualified dependent may find it beneficial to enroll in a P.D.P. For example, if a member’s drug utilization requires expenditures in excess of our level of coverage, or a member is on a drug regiment of injectable drugs or specialized bio-tech drugs not covered by our plan, they should consider alternative coverage. If a member elects alternative coverage for himself, spouse or qualified dependent, the remaining family members are still entitled to SBA coverage. Members should carefully review their individual needs and pursue the options that are best suited for their given situation.

In the event a Medicare covered participant of the SBA Health and Welfare Part D plan enrolls in a P.D.P. it is mandated that the member notify the SBA Health and Welfare office. The guidelines of Medicare Part D do not allow for participants to be claimed as a participant on multiple plans.

Members are reminded enrollment in the Medicare Part D benefit begins on November 15, 2005 and ends May 15, 2006. All Medicare qualified members, spouse or dependents that elect not to remain in the SBA Plan D and fail to select alternative coverage such as a regional P.D.P. or medical coverage that includes a qualified prescription benefit will be subject to late enrollment penalties created by Medicare.

NOTE: The law states any eligible individual who goes without creditable coverage for a continuous period of sixty three (63) days or longer, after the initial enrollment period and then elects to enroll in a qualified Medicare Part D plan will be assessed a penalty of 1% for each month that the person does not have qualified coverage. This penalty will be added on to future premiums based on the number of months the participant had no creditable coverage.

IMPORTANT :
We are required by Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (C.M.S.) to provide the names and Social Security numbers of Medicare qualified participants in the SBA’s creditable prescription plan. Please prepare the enrollment form (Click here to download)and return it to the SBA Health & Welfare Fund:

Please forward this form as follows:  
Fax: 212-431-6487, Attention: MEDICARE ELIGIBILITY UNIT
or
Mail : Sergeants Benevolent Association Health & Welfare Fund
Attn: MEDICARE ELIGIBILITY UNIT
35 Worth St
New York , NY 10013

Failure to prepare this form or provide the necessary information will delay enrollment notification to Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (C.M.S..) and could result in penalties and a discontinuance of coverage in the SBA Health and Welfare Plan for covered spouse and qualified dependents.

For more information about this notice or your SBA Plan D prescription drug plan, contact the SBA Health and Welfare Fund at 212-431-6555.

FYI:
You can obtain more detailed information about Medicare plans that offer prescription drug coverage from the following:

Visit http://www.medicare.gov/ for personalized help,

Call your State Health Insurance Assistance Program (see your copy of the Medicare & You handbook you received from Medicare, for their telephone number)

Call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). TTY users should call 1-877-486-2048.

For those with limited income and resources, extra help paying for a Medicare prescription drug plan is available from Social Security Administration (SSA). For more information about extra help, visit SSA online at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/, or call them at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778)

November 14, 2005 -   MEDICARE DRUG PLAN AND THE PBA
Our thanks to member Richie Napoli for giving us this information from the NYPD PBA:

Starting January 1, 2006, prescription drug coverage will be available to everyone with Medicare through Medicare prescription drug plans. All Medicare prescription drug plans will provide at least a standard level of coverage set by Medicare. Some plans might also offer more coverage for a higher monthly premium.

Because your existing coverage is on average at least as good as standard Medicare prescription drug coverage, you can keep this coverage and not pay extra if you later decide to enroll in Medicare coverage.

People with Medicare can enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan from November 15, 2005 through May 15, 2006. However, because you have existing prescription drug coverage that, on average, is as good as Medicare coverage, you can choose to join a Medicare prescription drug plan later. Each year, you will have the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan beginning November 15th through December 31st.

If you do decide to enroll in a Medicare prescription drug plan, you will still be covered by the Fund. Your prescription drug coverage through the Fund will be secondary to your Medicare prescription drug coverage.

For further information, click on this web-link: http://nycpba.org/benefits/medicare.html

October 31, 2005 -    NY LAW AND PRESCRIPTION PRICES
A new law was recently signed by Gov. Pataki that requires the NYS Dept. of Health (DOH) to post the retails prices for the 150 most-prescribed drugs on the Department's web site starting in April of 2006.  The site will include data updated weekly from all of the state's 4000 pharmacies and will allow consumers to search by ZIP code or drug type and compare prices at pharmacies in their communities.

For retirees on a drug plan, this information may be of no value but for others, searching for better prices will undoubtedly be beneficial.

June 15, 2005 -    STATE INSURANCE FUND ANSWER TO LBA INSURANCE
Marty received a response from the NYS Insurance Department on his complaint that the insurance carrier of the NYPD LBA, Union Central Life Insurance Co., unfairly dropped coverage for the retirees.  Their answer was that the insurance was provided under a group policy and every insured under this policy is issued a certificate.  Nothing under the NYS Insurance Law requires Union Central to continue the group policy.  Further, each individual group certificate holder is entitled to convert his/her certificate to an individual policy, if group coverage is no longer being offered.  The group policyholder and each group certificate holder should have received letters from Union Central advising them of their options under the cancellation of the group policy.  If anyone did not receive such a letter from Union Central, they are advised to contact the NYS Insurance Department at 25 Beaver Street, NY NY 10004.

January 23, 2005 -    NEW RULES ON MEDICARE DRUG PLAN COVERAGE
We received this important message from John Glaser of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare
1-800-966-1935
202-216-8458
___________________________________________

HEALTH
McClellan Outlines New Rules On Medicare Drug Coverage
Medicare's new drug benefit includes incentives aimed at keeping employers from dropping retiree coverage, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Mark McClellan said today. HHS (Health and Human Services) today released the final rules that will govern the new Medicare drug benefit, outlining for the first time how the law will work. Lawmakers will be closely watching provisions giving employers subsidies to prevent them from dropping drug coverage they provide their retirees. The new law called for subsidies but left the details to HHS. Under the new rules, Medicare will subsidize employers who keep retiree drug coverage by an average of $668 per retiree, which could be worth more than $1,000 in taxable income to companies. To qualify, employers must offer a plan at least as generous as the Medicare plan and contribute at least as much as Medicare does.
Democrats, and some Republicans, fear employers will drop retiree coverage once retirees are eligible for the Medicare benefit. During a briefing to discuss the rules, McClellan dismissed those concerns, saying the benefit "is designed to work with other sources of coverage, not just replace them with a costly government plan." McClellan said the rules intend to prevent employers from pocketing "windfalls" through subsidies but acknowledged employers could drop the level of coverage to equal the Medicare benefit and get the subsidy. "But employers are already doing that today," he said. "We've seen an erosion in the generosity of benefits."
In 2006, about 9.8 million beneficiaries will get their drug coverage from an employer or union-sponsored plan, CMS estimates. Under other provisions of the rules, Medicare will automatically enroll "dual-eligibles," those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid, McClellan announced. Medicare will enroll those people in selected plans during the first half of 2005, and give them the option of changing plans before the full drug benefit becomes available in 2006. CMS also outlined rules governing new Medicare Advantage plans, the private managed care plans in Medicare, saying the plans would competitively bid to provide Medicare coverage. McClellan likened the Medicare Advantage plans to those that cover federal employees.
-- by Emily Heil

We'll be keeping an eye on this matter to see what transpires, Marty

Overall city savings sought: $600 million;  savings achieved: '0'
Overall union savings achieved that accrue to the Stabilization Fund for active and retiree benefits --- $100 million