Providence Firefighter Disability Pension Bill Nearing $16 Million

According to WPRI, a payroll record analysis of Providence records, the accidental disability pensions awarded to firefighters, will account for more than half of 2011’s $29 million dollars spent on pension payments.

In January, 438 firefighters received a taxpayer funded pension check. 258 of those receiving a check were accidental disability pensions. In providence, accidental disability pensions are not subject to taxes.

Steven Pare, the Providence Public Safety Commissioner, has claimed that he will look deeper into the police departments, fire departments and the pension costs and benefits once he takes charge.

Rhode Island appears to have a high number of disability pensions. In 2008, more than half (56%) of all pensions were due to accidental disability. In 2011, that rate inflated to 59%, more than any other category in Providence.

In 2011, Providence will pay more than $15 million in disability pension to former firefighters, again, more than any other category.

The numbers break down as follows: $160,056 for ordinary disability; $229,719 for court-awarded payments; $942,708 for accidental deaths; $1.5 million for fire widows; $2.1 million for accidental disabilities that lead to death and finally, $8.7 million for regular fire pensions.

Meanwhile, the Providence police department only makes up $7.1 million, or 30% of the $23.2 million dollar bill for 2011 pensions. To put it into perspective, 639 police officers received pension payments in comparison to the 438 firefighters receiving pensions.

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