ADVERTISEMENT

State retirement system is willfully taking pensions

I am the widow of a former New York State corrections officer. My husband worked for the state for 18 years before he retired due to cancer. We were married for 38 years and were still together at the time of his death.

After my husband passed away in December 2006, I notified the state retirement system, and was told that I would not be entitled to my husband’s pension due to the fact that no retirement paperwork was filed. Since the state did not receive this paperwork, it has denied me the right to receive my husband’s pension for the last seven years.

After reading The News article on Aug. 16, stating that the pension fund has $180.7 billion in its fund after investments, I am of the mind-set that it received this investment increase from people like myself who have been denied their spouse’s pension, because the state has the right to select an election option on their behalf, which is Option 0, wherein it keeps the employee’s money instead of giving it to his spouse.

When the state was in a budget crisis, there seemed to be no crisis when it outright stole money from widows and widowers who were entitled to their spouses’ pensions. Where does this money go, if not to the family members?

Yet all of the politicians who have been convicted of committing crimes get to keep their pensions. The only crime my husband ever committed was to work hard and to want to take care of his family after his death. This is not being done.

I pray that justice will prevail for me and my family. I will continue to fight for justice to make a wrong a right.

Janis Middlebrooks

Buffalo