City transit workers still awaiting 9/11 disability benefits: State legislation languishes

Richard Khavkine

Originally published in The Chief on .

But Shpiller and his colleagues appear to have one outspoken ally in the legislature. “They fully deserve this benefit,” Staten Island State Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton, the bill's sponsor, said Monday.

“Anybody who was there taking part in the pile, in the recovery, deserve these benefits,” she said, adding that she had a family member, a female firefighter, who passed away from a 9/11-related cancer. 

But Scarcella-Spanton, who succeeded Diane Savino, the legislation’s original sponsor, acknowledged that the benefit’s cost would be significant and was the likely reason the legislation has not moved. 

“Everybody's very supportive of it. I think it's just a matter of the cost and we're going to keep pushing for it because the cost really shouldn't be what's prohibitive,” she said. “There's a lot of things in New York State that we spend money on, and people's health and well-being should be at the top of that list, especially if they were involved in the recovery.”

Scarcella-Spanton said if the legislation doesn’t move forward this year, “the best course forward” would be to include the necessary funding in the Fiscal Year 2026 budget. 


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