Disabilities plague Wash. retirees, even golfers

FILE - In this March 20, 2013 photo, Greg Hull stands near a fire engine in the fire department garage in DuPont, Wash. Hull received a substantial pay raise just before he retired as a manager with Lakewood Fire District No. 2, which increased his annual pension to $184,000. He currently works as fire chief in DuPont, but was hired as a “contractor” in a way that doesn’t disrupt his retirement payments. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
FILE - In this March 20, 2013 photo, Greg Hull stands near a fire engine in the fire department garage in DuPont, Wash. Hull received a substantial pay raise just before he retired as a manager with Lakewood Fire District No. 2, which increased his annual pension to $184,000. He currently works as fire chief in DuPont, but was hired as a “contractor” in a way that doesn’t disrupt his retirement payments. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

SEATTLE (AP) — Some disabled retirees in Washington state have gone on to play golf, deliver refrigerators and pass tests to join the State Patrol.

More than 3,000 members of an old pensions system for police and firefighters retired from their jobs on disability. With lenient definitions of what qualifies as a disability and little effort to monitor the ailments, some have gone on to play sports and take other physically demanding jobs without any impact on their benefits.

Nowhere is that trend more apparent than at the Seattle Fire Department. An Associated Press analysis found that more than 88 percent of the Seattle Fire retirees in the so-called LEOFF-1 system are on disability retirement.

Bruce Harrell, a city councilman who chairs the Seattle Firefighters Pension Board, did not return calls seeking comment.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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