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New Law Targets Pension Abusers

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
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Utica, NY (WIBX) - Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law that gives State Comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, access to the Department of Taxation and Finance’s wage reporting system. The move allows the Comptroller’s Office to identify state retirees who have exceeded their post retirement earnings limitations.

Press Secretary, Eric Sumberg says social security laws mandate that retired public employees, who work for state or local governments, can only earn up to $30,000 annually in wages. “If you earn more than that in a calendar year, your pension is then suspended for the year unless you have received a waver from the state. This bill would allow us to identify retirees who made–perhaps because they do not know the rules or because they are subverting the rules–to find retirees who may be earning more than $30,000 in salary, and not having any reductions in their pensions,” he said.

Sumberg says the issue is that state officials don’t know how large the problem is. He says the Comptroller’s Office has the ability to look at state retirees who have returned to the state to work because they administer the state payroll and the pension system. The Comptrollers Office can also run a check on that system to ensure pension laws are not being broken. Sumberg says, “We find a relatively low number, roughly 100 or so per year who are improperly collecting those benefits.” He says the law is not meant to be punitive however, officials will prosecute those who are found to be gaming the system. He says the new law is to recoup the money a retiree improperly receives.

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