Public Safety Workers Comp: Big Questions, Few Answers

July 22nd, 2005 by

Michael Forman, 39 years old, is a Suffolk County policeman with 13 years on the job. During that time, he received nine awards for exceptional police work — and filed 12 workers comp claims. It’s the last of these claims that has brought him his current notoriety. He says that he hurt his wrist in April of 2003 — an injury of unspecifried origin, but so severe he could not drive his car, pull the trigger of a gun or even answer a telephone. He’s been collecting 100% of his average weekly wage (tax free) plus his other benefits for over two years. Because the indemnity is tax free, he is actually making more money by not working. In all, he’s collected about $250,000 in disability benefits since he left work with his injury. He was recently indicted for workers comp fraud (though under comp rules, he continues to collect a pay check).
During his prolonged disability, Forman continued to serve as a volunteer fireman in his hometown of Bethpage, Long Island. While disabled from police work, he responded to over 200 calls. According to prosecutors, two days after one visit to police doctors, when he told them he couldn