State Senator Martin Malave Dilan (D-Brooklyn) is urging those 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 by Tuesday, August 14th.
"September 11, 2001 was a day of horrific loss," Senator Dilan said. "But on that day, and in the days that followed, there was an outpouring of resolve to bring closure to a grieving city, be it through rescue, recovery or cleanup. Volunteers sacrificed their time and, in some cases, their health to see the work to its conclusion.
"Last year, my colleagues and I in the Senate joined the Assembly in passing legislation extending the deadline for any workers exposed to contaminated dust and smoke to file compensation claims," he said. "I have learned, however, that only 4,000 of the 100,000 eligible individuals have filed a claim. Whether you are sick or not, it is important to register for workers’ compensation before August 14th.
"Sometimes symptoms do not necessarily appear in a year or two, or even five," Senator Dilan added. "If and when they do occur, and you have not registered for Workers’ Compensation, you will be out of luck. That’s why even if you are without symptoms, it is still imperative to preserve your right to file a claim."
The Brooklyn lawmaker said volunteers should also register, even if they are healthy, to lock in their right to file a workers’ compensation claim in the future should they get sick years from now.
Senator Dilan said 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. Those denied a previously filed claim are encouraged to re-file.
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 Dilan 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.
"If you are one of the men and women who toiled at Ground Zero, you deserve this security," Senator Dilan concluded. "Please register by August 14th and protect your future. Don’t wait until it’s too late."