Archived Union News

Archived Union News (74)

We are collecting Gently worn & good condition shoes - Any style and size.  From Now until April 30th.

December 4, 2013

 

Dear Member,

Following up on yesterday's announcement, today the DEA was informed that for those individuals who submitted audit responses to AON and were subsequently denied dependent verification, the deadline for the Step 1 Appeal submission is December 20, 2013.

Further, for those 15,000 City employees/retirees who did not submit any information to AON and have had their dependents terminated, these dependents will be reinstated retroactively once the necessary verification is provided by AON.  This assures that your dependent(s) will be covered with no break in coverage and any rejected claims can be resubmitted to health carriers for reprocessing.  It is imperative, however, that the required audit information is provided to AON as soon as possible in order to reinstate these terminated dependents.

 

 

December 3, 2013

                                                                                                   IMPORTANT

                                                                        Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA) - UPDATE

Dear Member,

We have been informed by the City's Office of Labor Relations that there are approximately 15,000 City of New York employees/retirees who did not respond to any of the City’s DEVA letters.  As a result, we have been informed that the City has started terminating dependents for these 15,000 City employees/retirees in stages (randomly selected).

This action to remove dependents from health insurance coverage ONLY applies to those who completely ignored the numerous DEVA notification letters that were sent to these 15,000 employees/retirees.  However, this Group can begin a Step 1 Appeals process, and the following information is being conveyed by the City to those calling about the termination.

For inquiries regarding terminations due to the AUDIT, callers should be informed to call AON at 1-855-596-7454 and ask for an APPEAL PACKAGE and to follow the instructions and act as soon as possible.  

Please note that we have no information from the City as to when they will reinstate dependents, following a successful appeal, nor any information on the effective date of reinstatement, i.e. will coverage be continuous without any break or will there be a gap in coverage from the dependent(s) termination date to reinstatement date. 

For those who did respond to the City's DEVA notification(s) and were denied approval for their dependents, the same APPEAL PACKAGE should be requested by calling AON at 1-855-596-7454.

The DEA has requested from the City a listing of specific members affected so we may assist in reaching out to those individuals.

 

 

 

October 23, 2013

                                                                                                       IMPORTANT

                                                                          Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA) - UPDATE          

Dear Member,

On October 4th, 2013 the deadline for the Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA) passed.  However, at a recent NYC Office of Labor Relations meeting with the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC), union representatives were informed that the City/AON will continue to accept necessary documentation to verify any member's dependents who did not meet the October 4th deadline.  Please note that this extension applies only to members with ELIGIBLE dependents.  Those who have dependents who should have been removed due to ineligibility will no longer be protected by the previous amnesty period.

This extension, presently, is being offered through November 4th, 2013.  The City has offered no guarantee that  eligible dependents will be permitted back on the NYC Health Benefits plan should verification not be completed by November 4th.   However, there is the three step appeal process that a member can engage. Your attention to this matter is urgent and required.  If you did not receive or have misplaced the City's dependent verification letter listing your eligible dependents, you will need to call AON's Dependent Eligibility Verification Center at 1-855-596-7454 to obtain this information.

 

September 6, 2013

 

Dear Member,

We are happy to report that effective immediately, the City will be accepting Church or other religious marriage certificates for purposes of verifying a member's spouse under the Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA).  Previously the City insisted on Government-issued marriage licenses or certificates only.  For those members who have previously submitted a Church or other religious marriage certificate and were denied verification, the City has informed us that you may resubmit your certificate and it will be accepted as proof of marriage.  Any questions regarding this appeal process should be directed to the City's Dependent Eligibility Verification Center.   A representative can be reached at 1-855-596-7454.


August 29, 2013

                                                                            Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit (DEVA) – UPDATE

                                                                                                 AGREEMENT REACHED

Dear Member,

As a follow-up to our previous advisements to gather the necessary documentation required to respond to DEVA, the DEA is pleased to report that an agreement has been reached between the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the City of New York regarding the Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit.  The MLC attorneys have favorably resolved all the concerns addressed in our past DEVA updates and we are now advising all members to send the audit documents requested by the City as soon as possible. Please note that in no instance should the required documents reach the Dependent Eligibility Verification Center later than October 4, 2013.  If you do not have all of the required documents in time you must send in whatever you have completed up to that point. Please refer to the original letter you received from the City’s Office of Labor Relations for complete instructions on how to comply with the Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit.  All the original audit instructions and acceptable documentation rules and methods of submission still apply.

As part of the MLC agreement, we were successful in eliminating the possibility of recoupment of monies from premiums or claims improperly paid on behalf of a member who voluntarily requests any ineligible dependent to be disenrolled on or before October 4, 2013.  Further, our agreement protects our members from any criminal charges that may have resulted otherwise.  However, in order to make sure you are protected under this agreement, we repeat…You must disenroll any ineligible dependent no later than October 4, 2013.  If you do not, you will not be protected by the MLC agreement.

Further, if an active or retired member submits proof of dependent eligibility by the October 4, 2013 deadline and their dependent’s eligibility is denied, there has been a three step appeal process put in place as the result of the MLC agreement.  The appeal process includes MLC representation in round two and ends with an expedited arbitration.  During the appeal process no dependent will lose coverage.  If after the appeal process a dependent is ultimately deemed ineligible, the City has indicated that it would not seek recoupment when there was a reasonable disagreement or a misunderstanding(s) to eligibility.

Additionally, confidentiality and privacy of dependent eligibility documentation that is submitted to the City’s auditors has been successfully addressed by the MLC attorneys. Both confidentiality and privacy have been protected in that once the proof is accepted it will be destroyed and the City’s consultant, AON Hewitt, will verify the destruction of the submitted proof.  If there is any breach of confidentiality or privacy the MLC, the individual, or his/her employee representative will have a right to file a lawsuit against the City’s consultant or its subcontractors that will be receiving the submitted proof.

Lastly, the City will support legislation that will ensure no criminal charges will be brought against any employee/retiree that reports dependents who must be removed by October 4, 2013.  Remember, you MUST submit documentation no later than October 4, 2013 and send in whatever you have up to that point if you are waiting for documentation, e.g., marriage or birth certificates to arrive.  The appeal stage will permit the necessary extensions to submit the documentation once it arrives.

To review the critical elements of this MLC agreement with the City of New York:

1.)    You must send in whatever documentation you have, no later than October 4, 2013.
2.)    You will be protected against any recoupment of monies by the City for premiums or claims improperly paid on your behalf as long as you voluntarily request any ineligible dependent to be disenrolled on or before the October 4, 2013 deadline.
3.)    If the documentation you submit in support of an eligible dependent is deemed insufficient, you will begin the appeal process.
4.)    Only individuals who make good faith efforts will receive the negotiated protections.
5.)    Confidentiality and privacy is assured.
6.)    The City will support legislation to ensure no criminal charges will be brought against those who submit the required documentation by October 4, 2013.


August 13, 2013

Dear Member,

As a further update to the City's Dependent Verification Audit, the lawyers for the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) and the City have been meeting to resolve the audit issues and concerns previously identified.  The lawyers have, in fact, come to agreement on most issues.  Despite the progress made, however, and despite the temporary injunction order awarded the MLC, the City permitted AON/Hewitt to send out a "final notice" letter to City employees over the past several days.  In this letter the City informed members who have yet to respond to the audit that their dependent(s) will be dropped from health benefits coverage if they do not respond.  In addition, the letter extends the form submission deadline from September 20th to October 4th, 2013.  The MLC immediately protested this "final notice" action as it violates the Temporary Restraining Order, and demanded the City issue a new notice that the audit is under legal proceedings and no penalties will be imposed for those employees who do not respond in a timely manner.  The MLC told the City that if the outstanding issues are not resolved within one week, the MLC will return to court.

As such, until all outstanding issues are resolved, the DEA continues to advise members NOT to respond to the AON/Hewitt dependency audit survey until the MLC and City have reached an agreement.

As always, we will keep you apprised of any changing events.

 

 July 19, 2013

Dear Member,

As a further follow up to the recent favorable improper practice decision by the Office of Collective Bargaining (OCB) regarding the NYC Dependent Verification Audit, we are pleased to inform you that a New York City Supreme Court justice has awarded the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) a Temporary Restraining Order.  The justice ordered the City and Aon/Hewitt to cease and desist any further action on the dependency audit process encouraging both sides to negotiate until all matters and concerns are resolved.

As such, the DEA continues to advise that all members DO NOT respond to the City/AON Hewitt survey until the MLC and the City have reached an agreement on the areas of concern previously mentioned.  The DEA will keep you apprised of any update to the situation and will advise you when to submit the required documentation to the City/Aon Hewitt.  You should compile the documentation for future submission as previously advised.

 

July 12, 2013

Dear Member,

As a follow up to our previous notification, we are pleased to report that on July 10, 2013 the City of New York Office of Collective Bargaining issued a favorable decision with respect to the improper practice filed against the City of New York regarding the current Dependent Verification Audit.  Specifically, this ruling permits the Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) to go to court in order to seek an injunction of the audit process until all legal and bargaining issues of amnesty, appeals and information security are resolved.  The MLC attorneys have asked the City to delay the audit until these issues have been settled.

The City of New York Office of Collective Bargaining approval was required before the MLC could move forward in court.  Court papers will be filed shortly.

The DEA will keep you apprised of any occurrences regarding this court action as soon as we learn of them.  Again, at this time the DEA continues to advise members NOT to respond to the City/AON Hewitt survey until our concerns have been properly addressed and resolved.  You should, however, begin compiling the requested information for future submission as previously advised.

 

June 21, 2013

Dear Member,

As a follow up to our previously posted “Important Health Benefits Notice” concerning the City’s Dependent Verification Audit notifications, please be advised as follows:

On Wednesday, June 19th the Municipal Labor Committee filed an improper practice charge against the City of New York regarding the dependent audit presently being conducted.  The concerns regard the failure by the City to discuss such issues as securing member and dependent vital information, amnesty and a proper appeals process.  While we agree that the City should only pay health premiums for eligible dependents we also feel that the MLC concerns are extremely valid and need to be addressed before members respond to this dependent verification audit.

It would be prudent to begin compiling the requested information for a future submission.  At this time the DEA continues to advise members NOT to respond to the City/AON Hewitt survey until our concerns have been properly addressed and resolved.

We anticipate a response to our request for injunctive relief from the Office of Collective Bargaining on or about July 10, 2013.  Responses to the City’s survey are not due to be returned until September 20, 2013.  As such, there is ample time to respond if it ultimately proves necessary.

Just before the year's end, retired members received their Defined Benefit (VSF) payment; however, recent retirees eligible for a DROP portion have had their payout delayed. Due to the many years of volatility in the stock market since 2001, no excess earnings (skim) were transferred to the Superior Officers' VSF from the Police Pension Fund, so the SOVSF is now exhausted. The legislation in 1988 and 1993, which created the "Defined Benefit" for Police Officers (POVSF) and for Superior Officers (SOVSF) respectively, also created a responsibility for the City to pay in the event the liabilities of either VSF exceeded the assets. In simple terms, although the legislation created the responsibility for the City, it neglected to dictate clearly the mechanism. As a result, new legislation was introduced in Albany, jointly supported by the City of New York and the four police unions involved (DEA, SBA, LBA and CEA) to create a funding method for the VSF to address the issue when the SOVSF's assets fall short of its annual liabilities. The new VSF Funding Bill unanimously passed the Assembly and the Senate, and on January 31, 2013, the bill was signed by the Governor. Consequently, we will be working with the Police Pension Fund to release the DROP portion of the VSF to those effected retirees.

NEW YORK SAFE ACT (Secure Ammunition & Firearms Enforcement Act) –
GUN LEGISLATION
Effective January 15, 2013, Governor Cuomo and legislators enacted the New York SAFE Act. The new legislation was designed to prevent criminals and deranged individuals from gaining access to assault weapons and illegal firearms, however, retired Law Enforcement Officers have been impacted as well. It appears that the legislation imposes on all retirees a maximum of seven (7) rounds in a magazine. At this time, it seems that clarity is required as to the impact this legislation may have on active members of the service, if any. The DEA supports gun reform for criminals and the deranged, but not for restrictions on our retired members. As we all know very well, gun laws are followed by law abiding citizens and the police and are disregarded by criminals. The DEA has asked our attorneys and the attorneys at the NYS Association of PBAs for their legal analysis on the new legislation. We have charged our Legislative Director, Lou Matarazzo, as well as the Legislative Committee of the NYS Association of PBAs with the task of reviewing the new law so we can expeditiously present to law makers our recommendations for amendment. We have 60 days to do so. On a positive note, the new legislation creates a carve-out for retired Law Enforcement Officers to have their names and addresses removed from websites and other public outlets as a result of FOIL requests. The DEA encourages members to visit the SBA website to participate in a survey being conducted that may assist us in our efforts to amend the new gun law. You can access this website at www.sbanyc.org

ANTI-POLICE LEGISLATION
Michael Palladino and Paul DiGiacomo met on January 14, 2013 with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn regarding anti-police legislation before the City Council (i.e. Inspector General, stop-and-frisk, etc.) to voice our opposition to legislation interfering with police policy.

SUPERIOR OFFICERS' VSF FUNDING
As of December 15, 2012, the Superior Officers' VSF had assets worth $213-million, and liabilities of $220-million. The Police Pension Fund did pay out on time $197-million of normal VSF payments to NYPD retirees. The deferred portion (DROP) of the VSF has been delayed pending the passage of the funding legislation currently before both the NYS Assembly and Senate.

Gov. Cuomo signed his Tier VI legislation effective April 1st, 2012 for all new hires for State and NYC workers except NYPD and FDNY, but there are some changes that affect future police and fire hires. 

The Greg Richards/Larry Polatsch/Scott Weingard Scholarship Fund grants scholarships to the University of Michigan for students in need of financial assistance and who have a family member who is a firefighter, police officer or emergency medical technician (EMT) or a parent who was killed in the World Trade Center attacks.
 
 In order to be considered for The “GLS” Memorial Fund Scholarship, a student must first meet the above mentioned family requirements and then be accepted to the University of Michigan through the regular admissions process.
 
 For more information on the qualifications for the Scholarship, please visit –
 
 www.glsmemorialfund.com    or
 
 
www.larrypolatsch.com/gl_mem_fund.html
 
 
 Or contact Andrew Kaminsky at andrew@glsmemorialfund.com
 

According to Benecard PBF, the DEA has recently achieved a Generic (Drug) Dispensing Rate (GDR) of 71%, resulting in a combined cost savings to the Active and Retirees’ Health Benefits Funds of approximately $510,000, with over $273,000in savings for members!  Please read the attached information from Benecard, which includes an important list of brand name drugs and their cost-saving generic equivalents. We salute everyone who has made the change to generics and/or therapeutic equivalent medications.  Together, the DEA and Benecard PBF will continue to notify active and retired DEA members about cost-saving opportunities.
 Download the article DEA Prescription Drug Plan and Members Save Significant Dollars by clicking on this link.

The Pension Protection bill was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo on Friday evening, at approximately 6:00 pm, September 23, 2011.  The bill becomes effective as of its signing, but there is absolutely no retroactivity.  The bill protects the pensions of uniformed members of the NYPD and FDNY who attain 20 years of service in the event they're dismissed or terminated for any reason, except the conviction of a felony.
 
 Special thanks goes to New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn for her assistance in gaining a “Home Rule Message” from the City Council, as well as to Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver and Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Jr., Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and Senator Martin Golden, and thanks to the Governor for his insight into the inequity suffered by the members of the NYPD and the FDNY.

A conference call took place on September 12, 2011 between United States Vice President Joe Biden, Mike Palladino, and other leaders of NAPO so that the VP could outline the new Federal Jobs bill and its impact on law enforcement throughout the country.  The four major points were as follows:
 
 a).$5-billion earmarked for the COPS program, $1-billion of which is earmarked for the First Responder Stabilization Fund for the hiring of new cops and the rehiring of those laid off;
 
 b). $10-billion has been earmarked to build out a new law enforcement broad band “D-Block” radio frequency;
 
 c).The creation of a new law enforcement mortgage program for refinancing at a rate of 4%; and
 
 d).Extension on the current Social Security tax break (which is equivalent to an Increased Take-Home Pay).

Page 1 of 6