PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - A federal judge is expected to make a ruling in the next few weeks on the $150 million settlement to save the troubled Singing River Health System pension fund, but some retirees are still pushing for a new solution.
"We didn't do anything wrong and we want our money. Period," said former SRHS employee Betty Phelps.
Tuesday, a group of Singing River retirees gathered at the hospital in Pascagoula for the first time since last week's federal court hearings. Despite Singing River pledging to commit $156 million into the pension fund over the next 35 years, the group is still not satisfied.
"The way we see it they intend to cut our payments in order to stretch it out further," said former SRHS employee Kitty Aguilar. "We don't want our payments to be cut. We want 100 percent of what was promised and we're not willing to let the hospital off the hook."
For now, the settlement is in the hands of Judge Louis Guirola. As the retirees are waiting for the ruling, they say they don't understand how the proposed settlement will pay out the money they're owed.
"I think that it is being depleted now at a very fast rate and I don't see how it will survive 35 years," said Phelps.
Aguilar added, "That's going to spread out so far that it will end before that time comes that they'll pay all the money back."
If the federal court rules settlement is fair, reasonable and adequate, the group of retirees said they're prepared to take another step.
"We also have the option of appeal," said Aguilar.
Once the settlement is reached, the Special Fiduciary and Courts will then decide how the pension money will be allocated among all the plan participants.