Returned disability funds

By Diana McFarland
News editor
Isle of Wight Sheriff candidate J. Russell Stephenson says he received disability payments while working for the Sheriff’s Office several years ago, but the issue was resolved and the money was paid back to the state.
Stephenson, a former Isle of Wight County deputy, is challenging incumbent Sheriff Mark Marshall, who is running for a second term.
Stephenson said he suffered a work-related back injury in 1993 while working as a deputy for the Isle of Wight Sheriff Office. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}
Stephenson received workman’s compensation at the time and underwent surgery to repair the damage.
Stephenson said he was sent back to work too soon.
Several years went by and the injury worsened. In 1997, Stephenson said he went out on full disability under the Virginia Retirement System or VRS. By that time, worker’s compensation didn’t apply, he said.
This time, his doctor waited longer before releasing him to work again, Stephenson said.
In 2010, Stephenson returned to work at the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office under former Sheriff Charlie Phelps. Stephenson said he reported the change to VRS. However, the paperwork was not filed correctly and he continued to receive disability payments for eight or nine months until it was resolved, he said.
Stephenson returned the money, but does not remember the amount.
Earlier this year, Stephenson retired from the Sheriff’s Office on regular retirement under VRS. If he wins the election, Stephenson said his time with VRS will begin when he left off, at 23 years of service.
Stephenson also owns a financial services business in Windsor. {/mprestriction}