Probe: 'Permanently disabled' NJ lawmaker competes in races
A New Jersey lawmaker stands to make millions of dollars in disability payments, but a News 12 New Jersey investigation has revealed that he could be in better physical shape than most people his age.
Assemblyman Dave Rible was 31 years old when he retired from the Wall Township Police Department. According to the state's pension board, a back injury left Rible "totally and permanently disabled." However, Kane In Your Corner discovered that Rible still exercises at the gym and even competes in road races.
"If you're claiming permanent disability, I really doubt you're going to be able to run in a road race," says Michael Riccards, of the Hall Institute of Public Policy. "It's important that we have disability in an industrialized society. It's also important that people not abuse it."
Since Rible was hurt on the job, he is entitled to an enhanced pension of $54,000 a year on top of his salary as a legislator. Under the rules, he is allowed to get his full disability pension even if he's well enough to work other jobs.
Speaking outside of a gym in Manasquan, Rible insisted he's not taking advantage of a state pension system that many say is broken.
The state's pension board has informed Rible he might have to undergo annual medical exams to prove he's disabled, but so far no exams have been performed.
As a state lawmaker, Rible is known for his attacks on government waste. He voted for a pension reform law that eliminates accidental disability pensions for teachers and state employees. However, police officers and firefighters aren't covered by this bill, and neither are people who already receive pensions, such as Rible.
Some of the research for this investigation was conducted by New Jersey Watchdog, a new investigative website. To read their version of this story, go to NewJerseyWatchdog.org