Retired teacher's aide waits months for nearly $7,000 in unused sick time

BAY RIDGE, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A longtime teacher's aide who retired after more than two decades of service was left waiting for months for backpay owed her by New York City's Department of Education.

Elizabeth Hebner served seven principals at her East Side elementary school, and she claims she bandaged a record amount of students' scraped knees.

She seldom called out sick, which is why she was owed thousands in backpay when she called it a career. But it was the DOE that was tardy, so she turned to 7 On Your Side.

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Hebner loved her job as support staff at PS 183.

"I miss the kids, I really do," she said. "I loved them too. It was a great place to be. Smart people, great kids."

But after she filed for retirement in June of 2020, the DOE was holding out her 400 hours of accrued sick time for 50 days owed.

"I believe the check is close to $7,000," she said. "(I was) on hold for two days with human resources department."

That lasted throughout December, six months after retiring, email after email back and forth and still nothing.

"I'm more hurt than anything," she said. "I dedicated 23 years of my life."

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We contacted DOE officials, who apologized, blaming the delay on staffing issues due to the pandemic.

"Literally, the next day I got a response, 'Your check is in the mail,'" Hebner said.

And soon, she received that check for $6,568.39. She and her husband, a retired journalist, plan to use some of it to see and spoil their 2-year-old granddaughter Naomi in Texas.

"It's definitely going to make our lives a whole lot easier," she said. "7 On Your Side, thank you so much. I so appreciate everything you've done."

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