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PBA ads to pressure city, state for improved disability benefits

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is kicking off an ad blitz Wednesday aimed at pressuring city and state politicians to remedy "grossly inadequate" disability coverage for new NYPD employees.

The union will be running ads in major New York City newspapers, as well as in the ethnic and community press.

The ads, which will also run in Albany, ask "Do They Deserve Less?" -- a reference to cops hired since 2009 who are covered by a less-generous disability plan, said PBA spokesman Al O'Leary.

"It is really a moral obligation of the city," O'Leary said of the push to improve coverage.

The City Council must approve a home rule message that would allow the State Legislature to consider equalizing disability coverage, O'Leary said.

While O'Leary said there is strong council support for the measure, it wasn't immediately clear Tuesday when or if a vote might take place.

The ads feature pictures of NYPD Officers Rosa Rodriguez and James Li in wheelchairs following injuries sustained on the job.

Rodriguez was hurt in April 2014 while responding to a Coney Island arson fire. Li was shot in the leg in February 2014 while trying to arrest a bus fare evader in Brooklyn.

Cops hired since 2009 are eligible to receive Tier 3 disability pay totaling 50 percent of their last year's salary minus any Social Security benefits they receive, O'Leary said. Earlier hires, in Tier 2, are eligible for disability pay totaling 75 percent of their last year's salary without any reduction, he said.

Cops in Tier 3 could be limited to disability pay totaling as little as $21,000 a year, said PBA president Patrick Lynch. "A New York City police officer hired since 2009 will not be able to live on the significantly reduced disability pay should he or she be permanently disabled in the line of duty," he said in a statement.

Officials did not disclose the cost of the union's ad campaign.

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