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Financial Crises

Disability double-dipping drains millions from NJ pensions

Meet New Jersey's "disabled" double-dippers. They get two sets of checks from the state -- one for working and another because they cannot work: 

-- As a lawyer for Gov. Chris Christie, Adam Heck collects a $110,000 state salary - plus an additional $44,000 a year in police pension pay for being "totally and permanently disabled" in the eyes of New Jersey. 

-- Scott Jenkins gets $186,000 a year from the state - $93,000 in police disability pay and another $93,000 in salary as a chief investigator in the Division of Consumer Affairs. 

-- Michael Fantini retired on disability as a State Police trooper. Two years later, he was rehired by the State Police -- apparently able to work -- but the pension checks never stopped. While receiving a full-time salary for the past 14 years, Fantini has also pocketed $750,000 in disability pay. 

A New Jersey Watchdog investigation found 18 state employees who double-dip $2.2 million a year -- $1 million in tax-free accidental disability pay plus $1.2 million in salaries. 

"These people are playing within the rules of the game," said John Sierchio, a state pension board member who advocates reform. "But the rules of the game are so absurd, they need to be changed." 

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