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.

ALSO READ | 7 On Your Side with tips to know before taking next trip amid coronavirus pandemic
EMBED More News Videos

7 On Your Side provides tips on things to know before going on vacation amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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."

ALSO READ | How to fight back against fraudulent unemployment claims, 7 On Your Side has tips
EMBED More News Videos

New York State has identified over 521,000 fraudulent unemployment benefit claims during the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing fraudsters from stealing more than $6.4 billion in benefits.

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."


Do you have an issue with a company that you haven't been able to resolve? If so, 7 On Your Side wants to help you!

Fill out the form below or email your questions, issues, or story ideas by filling out the form below or by emailing All emails MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND CELLPHONE NUMBER. Without a phone number, 7 On Your Side will not be able to respond.
Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.