MTA Pension problem

Seven On Your Side
January 11, 2013 2:49:48 PM PST
The doctor cared for sick MTA workers for more than 2 decades, but now months after she retired it's an under-funded pension that's in need of some TLC. That's why she called 7 On Your Side to take on the nation's largest municipal public employee's retirement system and get her thousands she's owed.

Dr. Cassandra Belgrave is in debt and behind on her mortgage. Last June, after more than 23 years on the job treating sick transit workers, the MTA physician retired. She should've received more than 6 grand monthly, but more than 8 months later she says her monthly payments are about $3,200.

That means the good doctor is in bad trouble financially.

"I have so many bills I have to pay out, that I can't even budget it to have pocket money," Clarke-Belgrave said.

It's customary for a few months lag before pension recipients get their full payments. But, the doctor says she's been waiting too long and now she's owed a little over $17,000.

Dr. Belgrave says her pension problems started when her retirement kit with forms to fill out from New York City Employee's Retirement System, or NYCERS, arrived a month and a half late.

Then another problem: the birth date on her husband's naturalization papers she submitted was partially cut off. Luckily, NYCERS had his birth certificate that had his birth date, but it's in Spanish.

Cassandra says NYCERS wouldn't accept the Spanish birth certificate. So she had to re-submit his paperwork - and more time went by.

"Since then I've heard nothing from the retirement system," she said.

She was getting nowhere on her own, and then we called NYCERS.

NYCERS told us she will get her full pension in her next payment at the end of the month, which will include more than $17-thousand in retroactive payments.

NYCERS said Cassandra also slowed up the process by buying out some years she hadn't funded her pension. It also said, she would've received this payment this month - whether or not 7 On Your Side called or not. We're just happy she's being made whole, finally.



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