Senate Passes Bill Increasing Health Benefits For Ground Zero Workers

Martin J. Golden

July 11, 2008



The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S.8676) enabling certain World Trade Center workers, who are currently ineligible for presumptive eligibility for accidental disability benefits, to become eligible.

The legislation, sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C, Brooklyn), was inspired by the hardworking members of the September 11th Worker Protection Task Force; which was created in 2005 to examine the limitation of any existing laws, regulations, programs and services regarding coverage and treatment of specific types of disabilities for WTC workers and to make recommendations to address any identified problems.

The bill follows the unanimous recommendations of the Task Force and reflects a three-way agreement among the Senate, the Assembly and the Governor’s office.

"We should treat our 9/11 first responders like the heroes they truly are," said Senator Golden. "This bill represents New York State's continuing commitment to those who were there for us on one of the darkest days in our Nation's history by recognizing that their service has affected their health. By eliminating concerns about health care coverage, for many of our State's first responders, we are saying thank you to our heroes and their families. They deserve nothing less."

Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno said, "this legislation puts in place the recommendations of the September 11th Worker Protection Task Force and builds on previous legislation passed by the State Legislature to protect all those first responders who bravely risked their lives, their health and their safety immediately following the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks."

The bill was sent to the Assembly.