Heartless disability decision

Seven On Your Side
September 3, 2009 11:46:23 AM PDT
A New Jersey man who filed for disability ran into problems when the state rejected his claim after initially sending him money. He was running out of options to fight it, until he turned to Tappy Phillips and got 7 On His Side. The former garbage man from New Jersey says he's been trashed by his home state of New Jersey. The problem? A disability claim the state originally paid but then rescinded. And now the state wants back all the money it paid.

Louis Trabucco is lucky to be alive. Last March, the 50 year old year old survived quintuple bypass surgery. After surgery, the former garbage man says he wasn't strong enough to work.

Luckily, New Jersey's Department of Labor declared him eligible for disability benefits, even sent him a series of checks totaling $6,468.49. But then, bad news arrived from Trenton.

New Jersey reversed it's decision. That meant Louis was ineligible for benefits and was suddenly on the hook to give back all the money he had received.

"They (NJ's Department of Labor) made a mistake," lamented the Bloomfield resident. "And now they even want their money."

Unable to work and with no benefits, Louis fell months behind on his rent.

"Nothing's coming in," admitted Trabucco. "I can't even go to a doctor if I wanted to. Can't pay for it."

The reason for the reversal? The N.J. Department of Labor said Louis should've applied to New York for benefits because that's where he worked. But Louis says his base was New Jersey. "We were working in New York, but I picked up the truck in New Jersey everyday, my work place in New Jersey."

And his company, Action Carting even has an address in Newark, New Jersey.

So Tappy Phillips and 7 On Your Side got working on his case. We called NJ Department of Labor and got Louis an appeal hearing expedited. And a few weeks after our initial calls Louis got some news that put some color back in his face. "(It has) in the past 2 days, ever since I won my case."

The hearing's decision? Louis was no longer liable to pay back the state. Plus, he got $924.07 more. That made the former patient's heart fill up with emotion. "Believe me, 7 On Your Side is on the money, definitely."

New Jersey's Department of Labor said it couldn't discuss Louis' case because of privacy concerns. Louis says he will be filing with the state for additional benefits since he's only covered for 4 months total. He says he feels better everyday, but isn't strong enough to do what he really wants, which is go back to work.


Story by: Tappy Phillips

Produced by: Steve Livingstone

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