Sep 10, 2016

Airport Workers Keep Their Social Security

     From KTVI:
Nearly 70 employees at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport were relieved to learn they'll get to keep their Social Security benefits.
In May, the airport workers were informed that despite paying into the Social Security system that they were ineligible to receive those benefits because of a decades-old agreement between the state of Missouri and the Social Security Administration.
On Wednesday, Senator Claire McCaskill helped police, city, union, and Social Security officials reach an agreement allowing the workers to keep their benefits. ...
     This reminds me of a case in North Carolina. A new interstate agency was formed that included employees from North Carolina and Virginia, if I remember correctly. Several employees of the state of North Carolina transferred to work at the new interstate agency. Before doing so they received written assurance from the agency that administers pensions for NC state employees that they would continue to be covered by the NC state employee pension plan. Some years later, when the first of these employees retired, he was told, sorry, we made a mistake. Employees of intergovernmental agencies aren't covered by the N.C. government employees pension plan. Here's your contributions back. Goodbye. When they complained it wasn't fair, they were told that the courts had refused to recognize estoppel against the state of North Carolina so, in effect, shut up and go away. If estoppel were applied, the state couldn't argue that the interstate employees weren't covered by the pension plan since the state had told the employees years earlier that they were covered and the employees had relied on this promise. The employees took the case to court and won. The N. C. courts held that estoppel would be applied. The moral of this is that if you're a government agency, don't rely too much on old precedent. If the courts think you're really trying to screw over people, they'll find a way to give those people relief. 

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