Ohio first responders uneasy about retirement after controversial pension fund overhaul

Ohio first responders uneasy about retirement after controversial pension fund overhaul

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland 19 is getting answers about the perils facing retired police and firefighters statewide.

Ohio first responders uneasy about retirement after controversial pension fund overhaul

The pension fund is causing retirees to shoulder rising health insurance costs they can’t afford.

Now, Cleveland 19 is learning a number of current first responders are hesitant about retiring because of the unknowns of health care costs.

“I’ve been in the fire service for over 30 years,” said Parma Firefighter TJ Martin. “I was thinking of retiring in May. Unfortunately, I think those plans are going to have to be delayed."

Plans for vacations and more time with family are going up in smoke.

He’s one of many Ohio first responders at odds with the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund overhaul.

It’s a decision leaving more than 8,000 retirees under 65 with rising health care costs.

“You may still have a guarantee of a retirement, but the healthcare will eat up that retirement,” Martin said.

Fighting fires and catching bad guys are jobs requiring demands on time and body.

“Injuries you sustain years ago are now more evident because you are getting older and things are breaking down more,” said Martin.

First responders already have to pay high premiums and still the costs keep rising.

“You had a reasonable expectability that you were going to put in x amount of years and you were going to have a pension that you can retire on and you’re going to have health care,” Martin said. He added, “my plan, unfortunately, is to stick around a little bit longer to try to make up that distance.”

Copyright 2019 WOIO. All rights reserved.