State Senator Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) today encouraged persons involved in the rescue, recovery or cleanup efforts at the World Trade Center on or after September 11, 2001 to register with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board before Tuesday, August 14th. By registering now, she says, 9/11 responders– should they develop a 9/11-related illness in the future – will preserve their right to file a Workers’ Comp claim for years to come.
"Last year, New York extended the deadline for workers and volunteers exposed to contaminated dust and smoke to file compensation claims," the Queens lawmaker said. "I recently learned that only 4,000 of the estimated 100,000 eligible individuals have filed. Whether you are sick or not, registering with the Board guarantees your right to file a claim in the future.
"Even healthy persons who are symptom-free should register," Senator Stavisky said. "It is possible that 9/11 health problems won’t emerge until many years after the horrific attacks. If you don't enroll with Workers’ Compensation by August 14, though, you will never be able to file a 9/11-related claim."
Senator Stavisky noted that volunteers who worked between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002 in Lower Manhattan, on the barge operation between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island, at the Staten Island landfill or at the New York City morgue are eligible to register.
A worker or volunteer whose workers’ compensation claim was previously rejected because he or she missed the original filing deadline to apply should register and re-file a new claim, she added.
If a claim is approved, workers’ compensation will pay 100% of all medical expenses for work-related illnesses as well as mental conditions such as depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It also pays two-thirds of an average weekly wage up to $400 a week if a worker cannot work due to a 9/11-related sickness or injury.
Senator Stavisky said those seeking additional information or eligibility requirements may call the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health hotline at 1-866-WTC-2556. Information in English and Spanish – as well as the necessary forms to file – can be found at the NYCOSH website at www.nycosh.org .
"No one knows how many people who did clean up work will eventually develop debilitating illnesses in the future," Senator Stavisky concluded. "By registering with workers’ compensation now, the brave men and women who put their lives on the line will have the security of knowing they can, if need be, apply for medical and wage replacement benefits. Surely that’s the very least we can do."