Albany, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced legislation has been signed to extend the period for workers and volunteers to file a Notice of Participation for lost wage and medical benefits as a result of their involvement in the rescue, recovery and clean-up operations following September 11, 2001.
"It has been 17 years since the attacks of September 11 changed our world forever, and on that day and the weeks and months that followed, thousands of courageous workers and volunteers put their lives on the line to save others," Governor Cuomo said. "We will never forget the selfless heroes who did not make it home that day, and we owe first responders and those who aided in the recovery effort an eternal debt of gratitude. This bill rightly and fairly provides 9/11's brave recovery workers and volunteers the time they need to receive the health benefits and compensation they deserve."
Previously, the Governor signed legislation on September 11, 2016 to extend the period for individuals to register under the World Trade Center Disability Law to September 11, 2018.
This bill (S.7797-A/A.10499), extends the deadline until September 11, 2022. The extension will allow more individuals additional time to file for workers' compensation, disability, and accidental death benefits as a result of their participation in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations.
The legislation, which takes effect immediately, also protects claims filed on or before September 11, 2022, if the volunteer or workers' disability occurred between September 11, 2015 - September 11, 2017.
Governor Cuomo is also strongly encouraging all 9/11 responders to consider using the World Trade Center Health Program for both treatment and monitoring of their health. Responders are seen at the clinics by experts in the field, without charge. This program, also known as the Zadroga Act, is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has been funded by the Federal government for 75 years.
In addition to treating illnesses, the clinics begin monitoring the health of responders. Services are available at many Clinical Centers of Excellence in New York City, Long Island and New Jersey, as well as through a nationwide network of providers. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/wtc.
Senator Martin J. Golden said, "This new law, that I sponsored, extends the period for our 9/11 first responders who have not yet filed a notice of participation to do so. It also allows for 9/11 first responders who became disabled between September 11, 2015 and September 11, 2017 to file a claim before September 11, 2022. Additionally, this legislation allows for those who had their applications denied to have that application reconsidered. Our first responder heroes of 9/11 deserve assistance in getting every benefit to which they are entitled."
Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou said, “Although it has been 17 years since the attacks, some rescue workers are only now feeling the effects. The onset and progression of some of the diseases resulting from exposure occur at a slower rate than others, and it is critical that we keep this in mind when it comes to policies designed to help these individuals and their families. This legislation gives our rescue, recovery, and clean-up workers the opportunity to receive the benefits they deserve.”
NYS WCB Chair Clarissa Rodriguez said, “We stand today with these brave people and their families. I strongly encourage anyone who worked or volunteered at Ground Zero and other recovery sites during that difficult time to register their service and preserve their right to the benefits they deserve.”
9/11 Health Watch Inc. Executive Director Benjamin Chevat said, “911 Health Watch wants to thank Governor Cuomo and State legislature for recognizing the long term and continuing health crisis faced by so many 9/11 responders and survivors by taking action to extend the notice of participation requirements until 2022. They understand the impact that September 11th and the toxins from Ground Zero are still having on the health of thousands who still need and are counting on their continued support.”
FDNY EMTs Sal and Wendi Turturici said, "Governor Cuomo has been a steadfast leader for the men and women who risked their lives during the horrific attacks of 9/11. Two years ago the Governor signed a bill that saved thousands of lives. Today, we applaud the Governor for signing this legislation, and thank him for his continued support of rescue workers and their families.”