Apparently, the fund has been paying out disability claims to people who weren't injured on the job, to people who are perfectly capable of working, to people who have found other well-paying full-time work, and to some people who have been collecting for decades. And Portland's goes well beyond most cities' disability systems.
Today, the Oregonian calls it a 'scandal':
The city's pension and disability system is itself an anomaly:
One in eight Portland police and firefighters are out on disability, which is much higher than the rate statewide.
In other Oregon cities, most injury claims close after a year, but half the recipients in Portland's system have collected disability checks for a decade.
In Portland, on average, a claim for lost wages costs $37,390 a year, which is roughly seven times what police and firefighters receive in similar circumstances elsewhere in the state.
And unlike other disability systems, Portland's has no built-in incentive to hold costs down. The money for FPD&R doesn't compete with other city budget priorities. It's financed, instead, by a separate property tax that simply goes up when expenses go up. "All of the incentives are backwards," a shocked workers' compensation expert told Bernstein and Walth.
"It's an incredible system. I can hardly believe it."
Jack Bogdanski adds to the story, as well as his own commentary.