Detroit retirees fear pension cuts after bankruptcy filing

Retired Detroit police officers living in fear of how much pensions will be cut now that city is filing for bankruptcy

MILFORD, Mich. – Ken and Linda Peltier live on a farm in Milford.

They love their retirement but worry that their lives may change dramatically. Both of them are former Detroit police officers.

"Everybody's living in fear right now of what's going to happen -- fear of the uncertainty," said Linda.

If Thursday's bankruptcy filing is approved by the courts the couple's pensions could be cut. By how much, they don't know.

"We paid into that pension. That isn't something that was given to us. We paid a percentage of our wages every year into that. So it's not something that's being given to us. It's our money," said Ken.

Linda said she specifically joined the police force for the pension and medical benefits. She was a commander with 26 years on the force. Ken was a sergeant. He put in 30 years. Police work was always unpredictable, but they always thought they could count on their pensions.

"The pension board was always there and they always said we'll have plenty of money," said Ken.

Retired police officers do not get Social Security. Linda has another financial issue: collecting on deferred pay and unused sick time.

"And I am due about $160,000 from the city that I haven't been paid yet, nor can I get a status on it when I call the city, nor can the union get anybody to talk about it," said Linda.

Now, with pensions and medical coverage in limbo, the Peltier's secure way of life may soon come to an end.

"Depends on how much gets cut, it's gonna be hard. And if they cut it enough, we'll have to sell this place, horses and everything else and move," said Ken.