Slain NYPD cop’s daughter in five-year battle for hero mom’s pension

The daughter of a slain NYPD cop who was left to raise her younger siblings has been stuck in legal hell for five years over access to her mom’s pension — and time is running out.

Genesis Villella was forced to step in as primary caregiver when her mom Miosotis Familia was killed execution-style while working in the Bronx in 2017.

And a little-known legal loophole has only exacerbated her grief. Children of single-parent cops who die in the line of duty aren’t entitled to their parents’ pension for life — unlike spouses and parents of slain cops.

“Since I’m raising my brother and sister, my mother’s dependents, as their mother — and I will be their mother for the rest of their life — I think we should get the pension for life the same way every other family of a police officer who is killed in the line of duty,” Villella, now 25, told The Post last week.

Twins Peter and Delilah Vega, 17, can only collect their mom’s pension until age 23 — and under strict caveats. But even now, they must jump through legal hurdles in order to get the benefit, a process that Villella called “torture” and involves having to first seek approval from the Bronx Surrogate’s Court.

Familia was shot and killed in a police car by gunman Alexander Bonds on July 5, 2017 in the Bronx.

“Besides the daily grief of losing my best friend, my hero, I also have to worry if we will have money to pay the bills in a few years,” Villella said through tears.

“The financial grief is an added stress. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in five years.”

Familia, a 12-year NYPD veteran, was sitting in a police car on July 5, 2017, when a deranged gunman came out of nowhere, walked up to the car and shot the unsuspecting cop in the head on East 183rd Street near Morris Avenue.

The killer, Alexander Bonds, was eventually gunned down by police.

Familia, 48, who was posthumously promoted to detective, had no beneficiaries for her pension benefits — and only three dependents, her then-20-year-old daughter and her twin children, who were only 12 at the time.

Villella was forced to quit school to make ends meet and raise her younger siblings — while learning how to navigate the court process to get her mom’s pension.

“It took me four years to finally get my mother’s check deposited directly,” Villella said. “Previously, I had to take the check to the court where it was Xeroxed, and then I had to deposit it into a bank that the judge picked.

Villella was forced to become the primary caretaker for her twin siblings Peter and Delilah, who were 12 years old at the time of their mother's death.
Villella was forced to become the primary caretaker for her twin siblings Peter and Delilah, who were 12 years old at the time of their mother’s death.
Matthew McDermott

“Originally, the bank opened up a [certificate of deposit] instead of a savings account,” she added. “The bank had to correct the mistake. Also, every time, I had to go to the court where … my mother worked as a cop, and also two miles from where she was heinously executed.”

Villella herself was cut off from the pension in 2020, when she turned 23. Under the current law, children can go through the lengthy court process until they reach 18, then they are eligible until they turn 23, but only if they meet criteria that include being enrolled in school.

That means Peter and Delilah have just over five years until they’re cut off.

Villella was cut of from her mother's pension in 2020 when she turned 23. Her 17-year-old siblings have about five years left until they are ineligible.
Villella was cut off from her mother’s pension in 2020 when she turned 23. Her 17-year-old siblings have about five years left until they are ineligible.
John Roca

“When our single officers give their life in the line of duty, the least we can do as a city is make sure their children are taken care of in a way they are accustomed to, if not better,” Kathy Vigiano, president of the nonprofit Survivors of the Shield, told The Post.

Founded in 1988, the group provides benefits and support to families of slain NYPD cops.

“There shouldn’t be a cutoff at age 23,” Vigiano said. “These kids are broken. It may take a few more years to finish college or a trade school. We should make life easier for these children, not harder.

“A parent is there to help support their child in every step in their life, right into adulthood. These children have lost that.”

Familia's casket being carried out of her funeral at the World Changers Church in the Bronx in 2017.
Familia’s casket being carried out of her funeral at the World Changers Church in the Bronx in 2017.
G.N.Miller/NY Post

Efforts have been made over the years to try to help Familia’s orphaned children, including by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which gifted them an apartment in Riverdale, ABC reported.

Some lawmakers in Albany also tried to step up — in vain.

Just three weeks after Familia’s death, Queens state Sen. Jose Peralta submitted a bill that proposed paying the cop’s children up to $1,000 a month for up to 10 years.

Peralta, however, died the following year and the legislation never moved forward.

Last month, Brooklyn state Assemblyman Peter Abbate introduced a new bill that proposed reinstating Villella’s benefits until her younger siblings become ineligible.

Villella said the "city should in turn take care of her children" after her mother was killed in the line of duty.
Villella said the “city should in turn take care of her children” after her mother was killed in the line of duty.
Matthew McDermott

The bill was introduced late in the legislative session and failed to garner a required senate sponsor.

“The final straw was no senate sponsor,” Abbate said last week. “It’s taking forever these days to get fiscal notes out of the city.”

While grateful, Villella said the bill would only provide a Band-Aid on an unhealed wound.

“It doesn’t address that I am the parent taking care of my mother’s dependents as if they were my own children,” she said. “They weren’t hearing me.”

She said she wished the city would step up like her mother did.

“Besides being a loving mother, she was also a loyal, faithful civil servant who gave her life protecting the city,” she said of her mom. “The city should in turn take care of her children.”

Additional reporting by Zach Williams and Craig McCarthy

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