A veteran Bronx detective disabled by COVID and unable to work again has been granted a disability pension, potentially paving the way for other cops to get the same benefits.
Detective Mike Smith won the disability pension in a unanimous vote by the 12-member board of the NYPD Pension Fund. The pension is similar to what Smith would have received if he had been shot and crippled, or had suffered some other disability.
The board’s vote is non-binding for future long COVID cases.
City officials among council members read statements in the filing acknowledging the sacrifice made by first responders and other essential workers, but noting that each case will be assessed separately, in part because it is not not easy to determine the source of a COVID infection.
Council members include police unions, the mayor, comptroller, police commissioner, and other officials, as well as representatives of police unions.
Paul DiGiacomo, Detectives’ Endowment Association president and board member, called the vote “a well-deserved recognition by the NYPD and the city that our members have risked their lives throughout the pandemic to continue to serve. new Yorkers”.
“We had eight detectives who died tragically from the virus and hundreds more fell ill,” he said. “Those who have been permanently affected owe these benefits.”
The vote took place at a June 15 board meeting.
The daily news flash
Days of the week
Find the five best stories of the day every afternoon of the week.
Smith, 58, boasted that he had never taken sick leave in more than 30 years on the job. But COVID — which he thinks he contracted while visiting Rikers Island, or while interviewing a stabbing victim at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx — nearly killed him.
He was on a ventilator and received final rites before going through. now he is in pain stage 4 kidney failure – which means his kidneys are barely functioning. He also suffers from nerve damage in his feet and hardened arteries in his ankles.
The Daily News in January reported the fate of several officers of varying ranks, all of whom have suffered so much from COVID that they are essentially disabled, unable to remain with the NYPD. Some have retired, others are sick.
Cops who contracted COVID when the pandemic hit the city in 2020 were told it was presumed they contracted the disease while working.
In fact, the families of those cops who died from COVD received retirement benefits in the event of death in the line of duty – essentially three-quarters of their salaries, most of them tax-free.
But as the long-term consequences of the pandemic began to be felt, the city took a wait-and-see approach when dealing with officers who had survived the illness but were declared permanently disabled.
With Michael Garland