Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bill to Crack Down on NJ Pension Fraud

For years New Jersey taxpayers have been complaining about having to foot the bill for the generous pensions being given to public workers. They’d have even more to gripe about if they knew they’re sometimes paying for pensions that people don’t deserve.

Today, a bill sponsored by Senator Loretta Weinberg which would make various changes to New Jersey State pension certification in order to cut down on pension fraud and make sure that only people who are truly eligible may receive credit in the pension system was unanimously approved by the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism and Historic Preservation Committee.

The bill is based on recommendations made in the Inspector General’s December 2009 report, “Professional Services Provider Enrollment in PERS.” The report documented the case of an individual who was retained by multiple government entities to provide legal services, and was determined to be an employee eligible for pension credits, rather than an independent contractor, as he should have been classified under current law.

The bill would require public employers to certify the eligibility of their employees to be enrolled in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS), at the time of enrollment as well as annually for each member of the pension system and would require the Division of Pension and Benefits to assign at least one full-time investigator to review and analyze information submitted to the Division and the pension board. The investigator would be responsible for reviewing enrollments, reports, applications and any other matters regarding the retirement system to ensure compliance with eligibility rules. The pension board may be able to enter into an agreement with another State agency, such as the Inspector General or the State Comptroller, to perform investigative duties of the pension system.

“While I support appropriate retirement benefits and credit for our hard-working, full-time State employees, we have to do a better job of educating the public workforce about pension eligibility and cracking down on those who would abuse the system,” says Senator Weinberg. “We cannot create a sustainable pension system while people are getting credit for non-qualifying work. This bill would clarify eligibility requirements and create a better certification and investigation process to root out fraud.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Natasha Trider
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