I am writing to voice my disappointment and frustration with the New Jersey Department of Pension and Benefits. In December 2018, I received a letter from the department stating they were beginning to conduct a Dependent Eligibility Verification Audit on my husband and I.

This “audit” comes as a response to the state claiming the cost for covering people like ourselves is “too high.” In order to keep our insurance and benefits, we need to submit “verification documents” to prove we are real people. My husband and I are retired educators. We have served New Jersey for over 30 years and receive our pension checks monthly.

My husband served during the Korean War and was part of the greatest generation this country has ever seen. Our son served in Iraq. What more does Trenton want or need? We are real people who have dedicated our lives to educating thousands of children across New Jersey.

It makes no sense why the state is sending us a letter claiming the cost for covering people like ourselves is too “substantial.” Regardless, it seems as though the state is crying for money when there is more than enough money being given to lobbyists inside the State House.

The letter we received also stated that New Jersey hired an outside consulting firm to investigate retiree insurance. This firm is based out of Illinois and will be sending letters to New Jersey retirees who have dependents with health care.

Why didn’t New Jersey hire a local agency to assist with the audit? Surely, there must be one in the great Garden State who would have been more than happy to take the job.

This is something I would expect to see in a third world country, not New Jersey, which is part of the greatest country on Earth, the United States of America. What a waste of our tax dollars. I would love to know how much New Jersey is paying this “out-of-state firm” to write letters of harassment.

My husband and I believe this letter is an invasion of our privacy and should be withdrawn immediately. No company has the right to insist on seeing a person’s tax returns, that is a clear violation of our right to privacy.

This whole “audit” stinks and I’m sure there is a lawyer around who would agree. Many years ago, I decided to raise my family here in the great state of New Jersey.

My husband spent his life giving back to the people and state he loves. I say this because it is shameful how New Jersey is willing to terminate our insurance over the belief we are not real people. We, the retirees of New Jersey, need a good legal adviser to stop this ridiculous harassment.

Sherry Zaslavsky

Monroe Township

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