Bill Stems from Slow Payment to Family of Jersey City Officer Killed on Duty

(TRENTON) – Assemblywoman Joan M. Quigley on Thursday announced she’s re-introduced legislation to expedite the payment of accidental pension death benefits for the families of fallen police and firefighters.

The bill stems from the nearly three-month-wait endured by the widow of Jersey City police officer Marc Anthony DiNardo, who was killed after being shot in July in a fierce gun battle. He left behind a wife and three young children who spent months battling through bureaucratic red tape before receiving his pension benefits.

The bill was approved 77-0 by the Assembly on Dec. 7 and was referred to the Senate State Government Committee for further consideration.

It didn’t pass before the 2008-09 legislative session expired, so it must be reconsidered.

The new bill (A-230) is sponsored by Quigley and Assemblymen Gary Schaer (D-Passaic) and Jack Conners (D-Burlington/Camden). Quigley said it has Senate backing from Sens. Nicholas J. Sacco and Brian Stack (both D-Hudson).

“To have seen this family get caught in a bureaucratic mess was outrageous,” said Quigley (D-Hudson). “This can’t go on and it has to be fixed. It was unacceptable and must not happen again. This bill would ensure it doesn’t and I will fight again to get it passed.”

The bill would provide that the accidental pension death benefits for police and firefighters be paid upon the filing of a certified death certificate and all properly completed claim forms with the Division of Pension and Benefits.

If the Police and Firemen’s Retirement System board of trustees determines that the accidental pension death benefit is not payable, the payment would cease and the beneficiary who received the payment would be required to repay within 90 days.

“This benefit is provided to our bravest police and firefighters who paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect us,” Quigley said. “The heartbroken families they leave behind should not have to face added grief because of state bureaucracy. They need to spend their time and energy focused on themselves, especially if children are involved, not fighting red tape.”

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