3/06/2007: 9/11 Workers And Volunteers Should Preserve Their Right To File For Workers' Comp

Shirley L. Huntley

March 05, 2007

State Senator Shirley L. Huntley (D-Queens) today urged workers and volunteers 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.

"By enrolling with the Board now, 9/11 responders will preserve their right to file a claim in the future," Senator Huntley explained. "If they don’t register by the August 14 deadline, though, they will never be able to file a 9/11-related claim. This small effort brings an enormous sense of security."

Senator Huntley said that New York extended the deadline last year for workers and volunteers exposed to contaminated dust and smoke to file compensation claims. She recently learned that only 4,000 of the 100,000 eligible individuals have filed a claim.

"Even healthy people should protect themselves and sign up before the deadline passes," the Queens lawmaker said. "9/11-related symptoms or illnesses might not develop for years to come. None of us can be certain. That’s why it’s imperative to preserve your right to file a claim."

Senator Huntley 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.

She also said 9/11 workers or volunteers whose workers’ compensation claims were previously denied because they missed the original filing deadline should register and re-file a new claim.

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.

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.

"The health needs of the heroic men and women who responded so selflessly during the terrorist attacks are of highest priority" Senator Huntley concluded. "Time is passing. I urge all eligible persons to sign up as soon as possible. Those who develop late-onset illness can and should be protected."