Tuesday, December 17, 2013
 

 

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Significant new protections for World Trade Center Workers announced

ALBANY - World Trade Center workers who performed rescue, recovery and clean-up in the year after 9/11 now have significant new protections for workers’ compensation benefits. The World Trade Center Registry was reopened and the deadline for joining extended to September 11, 2014; certain previously time-barred World Trade Center claims are being reopened and considered timely; and qualifying health conditions were added to the law.

“New York State is committed to caring for those who stood up in the face of danger to assist in the rescue and recovery efforts during and after the horrific attacks at the World Trade Center,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “That is why we are providing new protections for the workers, including first responders, clean-up crews and volunteers, who answered the call for help and ensuring they have access to workers’ compensation benefits for the future. I urge those who worked at Ground Zero and other recovery sites to file a WTC-12 form today to apply for the benefits they deserve.”

Filing a WTC-12 form with the Workers’ Compensation Board preserves the workers’ compensation rights for those who performed rescue, recovery and clean-up after the World Trade Center attacks. The State again urges those who worked at Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills Landfill, on the barges, the piers and the morgues to file a WTC-12 form, no matter if they were injured or not and whether they were employed or volunteered.

The last national Tell Us You Were There campaign ended with 41,094 filings received by the previous Sept. 13, 2010, deadline. As part of a new law signed by Governor Cuomo, any WTC-12 filings received after that date are now consider timely.

The Board will also review its files to locate any World Trade Center claims previously disallowed as “untimely” under Workers’ Compensation Law Secs. 18 and/or 28 or from failure to file a timely WTC-12 form. The Board will, under its own initiative, now reconsider those particular World Trade Center claims “timely.”

A detailed list of qualifying health conditions resulting from hazardous exposure for World Trade Center workers who participated in rescue, recovery and clean-up operations was also added. The categories are diseases of the:

  • Upper respiratory tract and mucosae;
  • Lower respiratory tract;
  • Gastroesophageal tract;
  • Psychological axis; 
  • New onset diseases that develop in the future resulting from exposure.

“When New Yorkers needed their help, 9/11 rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers selflessly answered the call,” President of the New York State AFL-CIO Mario Cilento said. “It's incumbent upon us, as a state, to be there for them now and in the future as we continue to learn more about the growing impact of their exposure. We commend Governor Cuomo and the Legislature for ensuring that critical treatment and benefits will be available for the heroes who served in the aftermath of 9/11.”