Pensions

NYPD Detective Who Got Bonus Pension for Being 'Disabled' Now Working As Security Guard

When retired NYPD cops are accused of abusing the NYPD's disability pension fund, the NYPD investigates. What could go wrong?

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Elizabeth Flores/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Anthony Hernandez was forced to retire from his post as detective with the New York City Police Department in 2014 because a back injury left him disabled.

For his sacrifice in the line of duty, Hernandez was given a $90,000 annual pension, boosted because of the disability that would prevent him from being able to work again.

Just months later, Hernandez was back at work as a security guard for a military base—a job that would be difficult, if not impossible, for a man with back problems severe enough to be accurately called "disabled."

In its latest expose on abuses within the NYPD disability pension fund, the New York Daily News reports that Hernandez is now working as a security supervisor at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, where he has been seen "bending down and picking up weapons, jumping in and out of his vehicle." He's making about $50,000 at the new job, the paper reports.

It would appear that Hernandez is misleading someone. If he is truly disabled, then he would not have been able to pass a physical fitness exam required for all military personnel. If he is not disabled, then Hernandez is in violation of a state law preventing police officers from taking another job while they are collecting a disability pension unless 20 years have passed since the officer entered the force. Hernandez joined the NYPD in 2000, according to records reviewed by the Daily News.

Previously, the Daily News caught a former NYPD officer with a $100,000 annual disability pension working as an able-bodied campus safety officer at New York University. Another former NYPD cop who retired after suffering a debilitating knee injury is now pulling down an $83,000 annual disability pension from the city while working for the Broward County Sheriff's Department in Florida (and she's running triathlons too).

Maybe the best example of disability pension abuse in the NYPD is retired cop Derek Huebner. He retired in 1996 after six years on the force and has been getting annual disability pensions of more than $40,000 ever since. Now, Huebner is a body-builder. That seems like an odd hobby for a man with a shoulder injury that left him unable to work.

"There's no law against it," Huebner told the Daily News in January when asked about whether his hobby should raise questions about his disability pension check.

Such arrangements are hardly uncommon, as the Daily News' series of stories illustrates. For more than a decade, retired New York Police Department officers ran an elaborate scheme that allowed dozens of cops to qualify for boosted pensions by claiming to be disabled when they really weren't.

Don't count on an internal investigation to turn off the lucrative pension spigot. Contracted for comment about whether Hernandez was violating New York City Pension Fund rules by working another job while being disabled, a spokeswoman told the Daily News that any complaints would be "very seriously" and immediately "referred to the NYPD for investigation."

Yep, that oughta do it.

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  1. To be fair, this is pretty common with every single type of government employee.

    1. this is pretty common with every single type of government employee.

      Not just government employees, either. “Disability” has pretty much become another form of welfare. The system is abused beyond belief. I know of several people who claim to be “disabled” who are perfectly able bodied. Perhaps not enough to work at a physically strenuous job that requires lots of lifting of heavy objects, but enough to work in an office environment.

    2. I thought it was common knowledge that almost all firemen get disability pensions. Isn’t that part of the pension crisis threatening to bankrupt so many cities and counties, that they’re paying out so much for retired firemen that they can’t afford to actually employ any working firemen?

  2. …a spokeswoman told the Daily News that any complaints would be “very seriously” and immediately “referred to the NYPD for investigation.”

    And by that they mean the reporter who dared delve into personnel matters would be investigated.

  3. “There’s no law against it”……spoken like a true grifter.

    1. Umm, I’m pretty sure that falsifying medical paperwork to a government agency is fraud.

      1. “I got better ….”

        1. Which you are also required by law to report.

        2. “Let’s not bicker about ‘hoo defrauded ‘hoo…”

          1. “He’s going to tell! He’s going to tell! He’s going to tell!”

      2. The government agency’s own doctors are the ones who examined him and signed off on his pension. The city had a minimum of 5 separate doctors review his case and examine him. His assigned NYPD doctor, the NYPD’s orthopedic specialist, and a final exam and review by a 3 doctor medical board.

  4. You don’t understand. “Disabled” means the inability to give a proper beat down to back talking children and upppity old ladies.

    1. And shooting dogs.

  5. And like any good government agency, “we just don’t have the resources, people or money to do the job better” is always the refrain. Course not, it’s all draining down the personnel and retirement sewer…

  6. Police abusing their power, who would have thunk it! Also it’s only fraud for the little people not these glorious infallible champions of truth and justice whom deserve these benefits

  7. “There’s no law against it,” Huebner told the Daily News

    There oughtta be a law…

  8. “jumping in and out of his vehicle”
    That takes talent.
    Do you know who else can jump into his vehicle?

    1. Luke and Bo Duke?

      1. not to mention Robin?

        1. and Batgirl?

    2. 15-year old hookers sex-trafficking victims attempting to escape an abusive pimp?

    3. The Road Warrior?

    4. Starsky & Hutch?

    5. Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin?

    6. clowns?

  9. a spokeswoman told the Daily News that any complaints would be “very seriously” and immediately “referred to the NYPD for investigation.”

    That joke never gets old.

  10. I don’t think civilian contractors have to pass a military fitness examination. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have to deal with Officer Officious Lardass sweating grease down my window, and letting me know he doesn’t have to salute me, when I roll onto base.

    1. Uh, sorry…not that it matters for this story, cuz this guy is just stealing money.

      It happens a lot. When I was in college, I met a 24-year-old former Airman who had been no-shit 100% medically retired for having generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD. Since, contrary to popular belief, the Air Force does have some hardcore motherfuckers who do macho shit, and who could very well have PTSD, I asked her what she did in the service.

      Trying to keep my face neutral as she told me “finance” was difficult. Quite difficult.

      1. Oh, the numbers she has seen, the accounts she had to reconcile; over and over, and over. The horror…the horror.

      2. Let me get out my shocked face that a heavily office-oriented and administratively involved career field would know the right hoops to jump through for a serious medical disability pay day.

        I’m an HR guy and I see it all the time. Now, to be fair, about half of them are folks who got shunted off into my MOS because they got hurt in their original one. But we have more than our fair share of 42s who know exactly what they need to make sure that VA percentage is upped several percentage points.

        1. Quick, unrelated Army anecdote for you: about a third of the butter bars in my OBC class (AMEDD) at Fort Sam were former 11Bs or other combat arms guys, who had gotten hurt cuz that shit is hard and dangerous. They became 70-series officers. I thought they were going to have a collective stroke, because AMEDD is way too relaxed for an Airborne Soldier.

          They let those guys and a Green Beret lead the battalion 10K. I almost puked.

          1. If you didn’t puke you weren’t trying hard enough!

            1. I know, but I can’t keep up a six-minute-mile pace for that long. I actually can’t keep that pace up for an entire mile. My pride was saved because I wasn’t alone, and I still finished near the front of the pack.

      3. I have seen it before. Those beans will just not move from column 1 to column 2. PTSD!

    2. How much you wanna bet Officer Lardass is another “disabled” retired cop?

      1. More likely officer lardass is a former E3-5 who was mustered out at High Year Tenure and hasn’t gotten over his resentment.

  11. You mean people whose jobs by definition are to commit force and fraud commit fraud? And their fellows who also make a living from force and fraud look the other way? I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

  12. You don’t need to pass a physical exam to be a gate guard. Hell I have had some grandmother looking women at the gate I go to. All you have to do is stand there a few hours and check ID’s or in some cases sit on a stool.

  13. Just months later, Hernandez was back at work as a security guard for a military base

    It would appear that Hernandez is misleading someone. If he is truly disabled, then he would not have been able to pass a physical fitness exam required for all military personnel.

    Couple of things.

    1. He’s not *military personnel* and would not be required to maintain military fitness standards. He’s a civilian security guard (or even a federal police officer – depending on how the base is sorting its security out) and those guys are a completely separate group from even the military personnel providing security alongside them.

    2. Depending on his duties, no he wouldn’t be prevented from working as a security guard – 99.9% of whose job is to ‘observe and report’, check IDs, and not chase down bad guys.

    However, if he’s picking up 50k working on the base, this isn’t some pity job where a friend squeezed him in in a reduced capacity just so he can keep working.

  14. Bombshell! Guess who said this?

    “Last summer, I was old enough to know better, but I guess I was still young enough to do something stupid,” the 40-year-old politician said. “I chose to send improper texts to a young man. I made a bad decision. I regret my actions.”

  15. NYPD disability pension rules and the law that covers them don’t say that the officer can’t work another job after retiring. You don’t have to be completely disabled to qualify like you would with Social Security disability. You are allowed to go work another job.

  16. I guess it all depends on how “disabled” is spelled or defined. Also, who does the defining and or the spelling might be a factor too.

  17. I thought that was Dennis Hopper in the pic.

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