The New York Black Car Fund (BCF) held a special Board Meeting on May 3rd to raise the amount paid to fully disabled, covered drivers that receive workers’ compensation, citing the rising cost of living. The increase – which will benefit many drivers each year – goes into effect May 15. It applies to all new claims filed on or after that date.
According to BCF Executive Director, Ira Goldstein: “It was the right thing to do, and I want to thank the Board for taking action. Inflation is severely affecting the drivers in our industry – and honestly, it was about time for the state to increase the minimum payment. The weekly amount hasn’t changed in many years.”
The imputed average weekly amount the BCF paid out prior to the increase was about $166 (2/3 of $250) for fully disabled drivers unable or unwilling to supply their income tax returns. That number – which was the minimum amount a fully disabled covered driver could receive – is being raised to about $216 (which is 2/3 of $325), a pretty dramatic increase.
“When this idea was brought to me, it was immediately clear this was an important issue that needed to be addressed,” explained Berj Haroutunian, Executive Chairman of the BCF. “So, we brought it to the Board for a vote, and not only got it done quickly, it goes into effect in a couple weeks.”
TLC Drops Base Renewal Requirement
It is also worth mentioning that the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission no longer requires Black Car bases to submit active franchise or co-op papers when applying for renewal. This change in TLC policy was successfully negotiated by the Black Car Assistance Corporation (BCAC), proving that advocacy on behalf of industry leaders can make a difference.
“We are grateful to the TLC for hearing our concern, recognizing its validity, and being willing to make this change to support an industry that hasn’t sold franchises for many years now,” noted BCAC President, Diana Clemente.
IMPORTANT: On a final note, we continue to keep an eye on New York’s state legislature in the hope legislators will approve an extension to the additional benefits that the BCF provides. Now that the state budget passed without the extension, it will need to be renewed by mid-June’s legislative session, or those benefits will all expires at the end of 2022. The BCF has been working closely with the Independent Drivers Guild to ensure drivers can still access the FREE health, wellness and education-related benefits that are currently available to them.
“The best way to ensure that lawmakers will pass this legislation is to sign up for Drivers Benefits and take advantage of the numerous FREE health, wellness and education benefits we provide,” explained Goldstein, who urges all covered drivers to learn more and sign up NOW at ny.driversbenefits.org.