Detroit pension families concerned with changes coming

Detroit pension families concerned with changes coming in the new year

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(WJBK) -

Weeks after Judge Steven Rhodes declares Detroit is eligible for bankruptcy attorneys representing the city's retirees have filed an appeal, hoping to protect the pensions. Yet, for those with Detroit pensions,the new year still brings a lot of apprehension and fear.

"This is supposed to be a time where you enjoy your family and you get to forget about everything else and just celebrate Christmas and the new year, and that's tough on you," says Cathy, the wife of a retired Detroit police officer.

Cathy's husband spent 20 years with the Detroit Police Department. The undercover narcotics officer helped take down some of Detroit's most notorious drug dealers and gangs, like the Young Boys Inc. More than 20 years into his retirement, he still does not want his face or name to be identified.

"Because of my husband's involvement in narcotics activities, we also wanted to get away," Cathy says. They retired out of state. But now that his pension is on the line they're watching Detroit more than ever.

"We rely on it a whole lot. I mean, that's our main source of income," she says.

Attorneys for Detroit's pension funds are asking a federal appeals court to block Detroit from entering into bankruptcy because so many pensions could be slashed. The city has not yet indicated exactly how pensions will be cut and plenty believe police and fire pensions could stay in tact. But Cathy says the prospect of losing both her health insurance and her husband's pension is terrifying.

"I know the city, for a lot of reasons, has problems. And I hate to think of that because I love the city. I really do. But I think you have to think about the people that gave their all -sometimes their lives - to make this city what it is," Cathy says.

The city will file its plan of adjustment very soon. We should know more about the pensions by March.

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