Skip to comments.How 7 minutes could cost a trooper’s widow millions
Posted on 04/28/2014 8:41:29 AM PDT by Oshkalaboomboom
On Dec. 7, 2009, New York State Police narcotics investigator Richard OBrien fell off a ladder while fixing his mothers roof.
He lived for only three more hours after the fall but in that brief time, fellow troopers tried to have him retired on disability.
Now, Stephanie OBrien, his widow, is fighting in court, saying a faulty fax machine and a measly seven minutes mean she and the couples daughter would get a $342,000 death payout rather than lifetime benefits that could total in the millions.
The case is the first involving an officer filing for a disability retirement on the day of his death, lawyers said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nypost.com ...
Wow, the grievance is that they weren’t quite able to circumvent the system to enable them to bilk the tax payer for a greater payout.
A similar situation happened with several National Guardsmen a while back that were called to Active Duty. They all signed their SGLI forms (life insurance) and submitted them to their S-1 (admin) on the same day that they shipped off to Iraq. Their aircraft suffered a mishap and all perished. The court ruled that their intent was to be insured and therefore their spouses received the SGLI. That should be precedent for this case.
Slap if I’m out of line here but I don’t think that disability benefits are designed as last minute life insurance. $342,000 invested wisely should keep his family off the streets. If I fall off a ladder tomorrow my heirs are not getting that much.
Most giverment employees know how to milk the system.
On duty...she gets the pension.Off duty...sorry,sweetheart.
sorry, I can’t take her side on this. The retirement payout is already too much. Doesn’t look like a safety net to me, to make sure ppl don’t starve. It look like a very comfortable retirement lifestyle with that sort of payout
This needs to be investigated, and the fraudsters need to be fired if not charged, and the system overhauled.
I agree with the decision in this case. However, if, lying on the ground and dying, one of them trys to get insurance, I think his lying there bleeding to death should be considered a “pre-existing condition”.
Rushing to get any type of insurance on someone who is in the throes of death is unethical.
Not the same. They signed and submitted their life insurance paperwork to be covered on active duty... and then died on active duty before all “technical” requirements had been met. There is such a thing in the insurance industry of “constructive receipt” that says a reasonable person would assume they were covered if they had fulfilled all that was required of them to be covered.
In this case, the family is entitled to a death benefit. What they (and the department) tried to do was arrange a switch to get the officer’s family a higher benefit on the backs of the taxpayers. There was no line of duty injury and no medical retirement... they just tried to make it look on paper like there was.
I have a great deal of sympathy for their situation... but none for their attempt to milk the system.
Nope...nope...NOPE.Apples and oranges.Those Guardsmen,first of all,were heading into combat.This guy was fixing a roof.Second,those Guardsmen were **ON DUTY**.This guy wasn't.Yes,the Guardsmen absolutely should have gotten that money.And if the cop was on duty,I'd be willing to overlook the technicalities regarding filing deadlines,etc and give his widow the money.
But the guy was off duty.In such a case,rules are rules.No money for the widow.
Sounds like just plain old FRAUD on behalf of every Jack Booted Thug involved and the widow. LIFE IN PRISON for the whole bunch.
I understand why his wife was desperate to milk the taxpayers for every last penny - it was not just, but it was understandable.
All of those state employees working - for once - as hard as they could, to help bleed the system is repulsive.
Especially since the revelation of kickbacks in the NYC system.
Should have road him around in the ambulance until the paperwork was filed. It’s been done before.
Those Guardsmen were rushing into danger.
This guy was on his own time, stupidly trying to fix a roof.
This is theft from the taxpayers.
I Don’t see the 2 situations as similar
More crooked cops trying to rip off the taxpayers.
I'm not sure I'd go *that* far but it certainly was foolish.
All of those state employees working - for once - as hard as they could, to help bleed the system is repulsive. Especially since the revelation of kickbacks in the NYC system.
A few years ago there was a news story that the Boston Fire Department's retirement board was being investigated by the Feds.It seems that records showed that a huge percentage (IIRC it was half) of all retirements from the BFD were "disability" retirements which,under state and/or Federal law,meant that the fireman got more money than he otherwise would have *and* that his pension would be free of state and/or Federal income tax.I don't know what happened to this case but if the DOJ was being run by Comrade Holder my money's on it having been quietly dropped.After all,Massachusetts government paycheck recipients (I refuse to call them "workers") are very loyal...and very generous...donors to the Rat Party.
I have a great deal of sympathy for their situation... but none for their attempt to milk the system.
The headline should read “7 minutes SAVED taxpayers millions”.
Exactly what I was thinking. Just read this story, they are openly bragging about scamming the system. This is a man who on his own free time had an unfortunate accident which resulted in his death, his DEATH. He is NOT disabled, he is DEAD. Yet the are openly saying they want to SCAM the system by saying he is “disabled” when it is not true!
Excellent points all and I can see the difference. My point was that police are of an occupation that is considered to be on duty 24/7, same as EMTs and firefighters. I do believe you all have pointed out that the spouse is trying to milk the system using a technicality and I concur. Bottom line is whether the intent of the insured was to obtain life insurance and took the necessary steps to do so but tragedy befell him prior to consumation. In this case it appears that the (soon to be) widow was the one trying to get the insurance since the trooper himself was unable to do so.
If he only lived 3 hours after the fall, I am guessing (maybe incorrectly) that he was not conscious or able to sign things or communicate. If that is the case, he would not have had any intent, on his own, to sign up for the disability benefits. Also, there is quite likely a waiting period of hours to days that he would have to meet, after the injury event, before he would be actually eligible to receive benefits. His death just 3 hours later may not have allowed him to meet the waiting period.
Dear about to be departed, I need you to hurry up and sign this insurance before you are dead. Sympathy? Really?
How about calling a friend to come over and help dress a corpse in his sheriff uniform? The old boy dies in his sleep but the wive's first thought was how to increase the death benefit. True story.
Wow, her husband lay dying and all this woman could think about was gaming the system so she could collect as much benefits as possible after he croaked. Lovely. Now she even has the nerve to sue over her failed rip-off.
Yes,it could be argued that you're correct on this.And if that cop had died "off duty" while trying to stop an attempted kidnapping that just happened to occur in front of his house then I'd support the widow's position.But this guy was **really** off duty.The most dangerous thing in *his* world at the moment of his fall was the ground...not some homicidal punk who happened to live next door.
Most law enforcement agencies in NYS are covered by a “Performance of Duty” disability benefit, awarded to those who are injured while on duty. I believe this to be the hangup. He wasn’t on duty.
Good point. I have disability insurance that will replace a portion of my income if I am disabled. If I die, these payments cease. What the heck kind of disability insurance continues to pay out after the covered person dies?
Often, in the military and Naval services, when a serviceman falls deathly ill, or is wounded but does not expire on the field with death being imminent, the service has the latitude to retire him on whatever duty status he is on. Thusly assuring the servicemans’ heirs/estate, benefits IN addition to SGLI and a VA death gratuity.
Some say it is milking the system, but the law enabling such action by the secretary of the service involved allows it under certain conditions.
I had a young Soldier fall gravely ill while under my command. While he pulled through, he was still retired on active duty and probably (if living) has both a VA disability and US Army retired pay for life. The circumstances were not combat related, nor even duty related. Just a near-death illness due to a systemic infection from a small cut incurred after duty hours on his own time.
I have no regrets about assuring that he and his heirs would have been covered doubly by SGLI and retired/VA benefits if he had passed. When I last saw him , he was barely able to function and care for himself, brain damage and a severely weakened immune system. I pray he has regained his health.
Others, died in combat and were not retired on AD, so family received SGLI, VA death benefits etc. But no retired benefits, fair? No, but “ No free lunches for the Dogs of War....”.
Title should read: How a faulty fax machine saved NY taxpayer’s millions from a scam!
While I feel bad for them,it seems they are getting a pretty decent payout already. If I had the same thing happen my widow would get ZIP.
No it shouldn't! He wasn't injured in the line of duty, he was injured while working on his mother's roof.
We have gone so far down the rabbit hole that our public “servants” think it is actionable if a circumstance arises where they are not able to game the system for their own gain.
If a man is comotose after falling off a roof, it is not possible for his to retire in the next few hours. It is an abuse of the system to attempt such a thing. Rather than suing for additional money, these people should be indicted for fraud.
Hell, this has been going on for years. In 1974 we were going on duty for the 11-7 am shift, bullshitting with the guys getting off 3-11 when the troop door opened and (I saw his wife and son ) shove officer X inside where he either died or was went cold. Half his uniform was unbuttoned, off or missing. I told the appropriate people what I saw but they decided he died on duty. He made it to the door.
If I fall off a ladder tomorrow my heirs are not getting that much....Well, on the bright side, they COULD sell the ladder?
“A similar situation happened with several National Guardsmen a while back that were called to Active Duty. They all signed their SGLI forms (life insurance) and submitted them to their S-1 (admin) on the same day that they shipped off to Iraq. Their aircraft suffered a mishap and all perished. The court ruled that their intent was to be insured and therefore their spouses received the SGLI. That should be precedent for this case.”
It is NOT a precedent. They signed up for LIFE INSURANCE and then later died in a plane crash—the “peril” for which SGLI insures. The State Trooper had life insurance which paid off when he lost his life—his fellow troopers and his family were simply trying to scam the taxpayers out of some undeserved benefits.
Ya Old prick. I like her.
No not at all. Nowhere near the same thing.
The widow and those who assisted in trying to perpetrate this fraud should be charged with criminal conspiracy.
The other troopers should be fired.If that means loss of pensions,tough!
The widow should be fined a hefty amount .
All parties involved ruled ineligble for any future government employment.
I will claim ignorance in how LEOs work the legality of such, but in the military during ANY injury, whether on or off duty, an investigation (JAG) is conducted to determine if the injury was "In the line of duty" and has nothing to do with whether the person was at work or not. Lots of car accident injuries, home accidents, etc. are considered "In the line of duty" simply because there was no misconduct (illegal activity). If LEOs operate under the same presumption then the incident I cited would be precedent. If not, then all bets are off.
No, genius... sympathy for a dead husband. Milking the system... no. I think I was clear for the literate.
LOL! Thats about all they will get.