MARIETTA, Ga. - Janet and Hal Cosper were looking forward to retirement. They planned to spend time with their grandchildren, had some projects to do around the house, and travel. But instead of taking those adventures, Janet is now fighting with the city of Marietta over Hal's pension.
Hal Cosper worked for the city of Marietta for 21 years. When he died last July at the age of 66, his wife, Janet, was denied his pension. It's all because Hal hadn't retired yet. Under Marietta's pension plan, if an employee dies while still working, the surviving spouse doesn't get the pension.
“It just seems like a cruel thing to do to a widow or widower when they're at their most vulnerable moment,” said Janet Cosper.
She said she has met with city officials and even went before the pension board, and she's been told over and over again, she's not getting her husband's pension.
Don Horton is working with Mrs. Cosper in her fight against the city. He's been in the pension industry for 32 years and said he's never seen a plan like this.
“In my entire career, I've never come across a retirement plan that is silent on survivorship benefits for a surviving spouse. This pension plan is out of whack with all others in the country,” said Horton.
The Marietta City County had a specially called meeting Wednesday night to talk about pensions and benefits. They didn't make any changes but did ask that the pension board take a closer look at the city's plan. The pension board will meet May 11.
If Hal had been retired when he died, Janet would be receiving $2,550 a month from his pension. Now she's working a part time job and still grieving over the loss of her husband of 31 years.
“He was the love of my life,” said Janet.