Cop Denied Benefits As Court Says Getting Disabled Is Part Of the Job

A police officer has appealed New York's denial of disability benefits for injuries he suffered after Hurricane Sandy.

​Albany, NY – An Orangetown police officer appealed the state’s denial of disability benefits for injuries he got while rescuing a family during Superstorm Sandy on Tuesday.

Orangetown Police Officer James Kelly was injured in the line duty in October of 2012 as he tried to rescue a family trapped in its collapsing Rockland County home.

At the time of his injury, one resident of the home was already dead, and rescue crews were delayed in responding to the residence because of the post-storm conditions in the area, so Officer Kelly did what was necessary to prevent additional loss of life. He was hurt in the process.

A lower court upheld the state's denial of his application for accidental disability retirement, or ADR, saying Officer Kelly's injuries were a result of "risks inherent to being a police officer," according to the New York Daily News.

In appealing that ruling, Officer Kelly’s attorney, Joseph Dougherty, told the seven-member Court of Appeals that Officer Kelly was never trained to do rescue work like that which was required after the massive hurricane devastated the coastal regions of New York and New Jersey, Lohud.com reported.

Dougherty argued that unlike firefighters and other emergency responders, Officer Kelly hadn't been trained for the kinds of emergency rescues police encountered in the wake of the hurricane. Therefore, the falling rafter that injured Officer Kelly wasn't a "foreseeable" event.

"My client was never asked to do ... what he had to do that day," Dougherty said.

Officer Kelly suffered shoulder and neck injuries from being hit by a falling rafter as he removed debris off injured residents of the home.

Dougherty argued that Officer Kelly was eligible for enhanced pension benefits because he was injured as the result of an on-duty accident.

Officer Kelly applied for accidental disability retirement after he was injured, but the state of New York denied his disability application, and a lower court upheld the denial.

A decision in the case wasn’t expected until later in 2018.

Superstorm Sandy came ashore in northern New Jersey on Oct. 29, 2012, as the powerful hurricane made its way up the East Coast.

Hurricane Sandy was responsible for 117 deaths, according to USA Today.

Comments (8)
No. 1-8
DaveCoburn
DaveCoburn

This is a misleading article. He was NOT denied disability benefits. In NY there are 2 types of disability benefits for cops. Accidental and Incidental/ job performance . Accidental is something that is not something that is part of your job, like you get into a car accident while driving down the road, falling on ice, etc... The other is incidental, which means you were injured doing your job and is part of the job. He wasn't denied incidental disability, he was denied accidental which has a benefit of 3/4 of pay tax free. Incidental is 50% tax free. Was he denied disability benefits? NO, was he denied the more lucrative disability pension? YES. Well because he was injured while rescuing people, which is part of a police officers job. Yes it's screwed up in NY, that if you get shot you get less benefits then and officer who gets creamed by a driver while writing a report.

makinbakin
makinbakin

if that what this stupid court thinks i would urge to tell police to tell people no i can't help you cause it isn't in my job description and i am not going to get hurt in the process. tell the people who needs help to go find somebody else to help you.

Teijeiro2
Teijeiro2

Dave Coburn, REALLY? You APPROVE of this shit? If you DO YOUR JOB and a fucking building falls on you, YOU GET PUNISHED? But if you sorry ass slips on ice, YOU GET A BONUS? WTF is wrong with you Yankees?

JBo
JBo

@Teijeiro2, I don't see where DaveCoburn approves of this in his comments. If anything I get that he's annoyed that it's so screwed up in NY. There's nothing wrong with DaveCoburn's comments.

mcw
mcw

Agreed that the article is misleading (as DaveCoburn rightly stated above. Even the opening paragraph is a mess: "An Orangetown police officer appealed the state’s denial of disability benefits for injuries he got while rescuing a family during Superstorm Sandy on Tuesday." Leads one to believe that the storm was on Tuesday.