Legal loophole denies children of cases NYPD Det. Miosotis Familia access to her pension

NEW YORK — The children of a fallen NYPD detective are denied access to their mother’s pension, all because she was a single parent.

As CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reported Wednesday, this is a legal loophole that can only be fixed by lawmakers in Albany.

“I had to change my life overnight,” said Genesis Villela.

Villela lost her mother, Miosotis Family, next month five years ago. The 12-year NYPD veteran was murdered while in a police vehicletargeted simply because of the badge she wore.

Villela was 20 at the time and became the legal guardian of her two younger siblings, Peter and Delilah Vega.

CBS2 spoke to them in 2017, less than two weeks after the tragedy. Hours before she was murdered, they had spent the Fourth of July together.

“It was really fun. We had hot dogs, burgers,” said Peter at the time.

Delilah remembered what it was like to have a mother as an officer.

“They thought it was cool. ‘Oh, your mom was a cop?’ My friends thought it was cool,” she said.

“Since that day I have had to step into the role of a parent,” Villela said on Wednesday.

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They are now bigger, older and still miss their mother. Their situation is unique. Under current state law, only parents and spouses of fallen officers are entitled to their lifetime pension. Children have until the age of 23 under strict rules and supervision.

One of the rules is that you must be enrolled full-time in college. Villela, unaware of this, stopped to be there for her siblings.

“I almost felt like I was being punished for not going to school, because I prioritized my brother and sister. I felt like my mother was being punished for being a single parent,” Villela said.

She was cut off from retirement two years ago.

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Accessing the money on behalf of her siblings requires her to personally go through the Bronx courts each time, a process she calls torturous.

“It was the same court where my mother worked as a police officer for two years, at the Family Court. It was like reliving the trauma every time and opening these wounds again,” Villela said.

As it stands, the family will have five more years of access before the aid their mother’s service has been able to pay for them runs out.

The only way to change that is through legislation in Albany.

“I’ve contacted multiple Senators, New York State Senators, and multiple New York State Assembly members, and I’ve explained in great detail what I need and what the next steps are, and I hope something can be done.” done,” Villela said.

Rincon also contacted several lawmakers but heard nothing back, and two previous attempts to help this family in particular never got the support they needed.

This is the only known case where a child of a fallen officer in New York City has become the primary caretaker of their siblings.

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