Taxi Widows

Compensating the Families of Slain Minority Cabbies Is a Bureaucratic Nightmare


The inquisitive Hynes continues to jump on anything suspicious about compensation agencies' attitudes toward taxi widows. Two months ago, he called Victims Services to complain about a link on its Web site that led to a now defunct T&LC-administered driver-bereavement fund. A T&LC official allegedly had told Hynes the fund never doled out more than $200 in claims. The link, Hynes notes, did not mention more well-endowed programs run by workers' compensation and the Crime Victims Board.

Hynes also works on behalf of the widows of slain yellow-medallion cab drivers. In October 1998, he contacted Ju Chan, the disabled widow of Juwei Chang, 65, who was shot to death during a robbery in midtown Manhattan four years ago. Although Chan found out about the key benefits agencies and now receives about $700 monthly in workers' compensation and Social Security benefits, she could be cut off from the latter when her son, who is 16, reaches the age of 19.

Laments Desai of the Taxi Workers Alliance: "They don't respect the drivers when they are alive, and they show no respect or compassion for their survivors."


Additional reporting: Danielle Douglas

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