Tag Archives: September 11

World Trade Center Registry Reopened and New Protections Accorded to Workers

On November 13, 2013, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed significant protections for World Trade Center workers into the Workers’ Compensation Law under Article 8-A. The legislation extends and enhances workers’ compensation eligibility and benefits for World Trade Center workers. Most notably, the legislation reopens the World Trade Center Registry; extends the deadline period for filing Form WTC-12, Registration of Participation in World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery and/or Clean-up Operations, with a deadline to September 11, 2014; reopens previously time-barred World Trade Center claims and considers them timely; and adds qualifying conditions to the law.

Reopening of Registry and Extension of Filing Period for Form WTC-12

The World Trade Center Registry, which preserves workers’ compensation rights for those who performed rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations after the World Trade Centerattacks, is now reopened and will remain open until September 11, 2014. Previously, any claims for which the associated Form WTC-12 was received after September 13, 2010 were time-barred. Those workers were not entitled to benefits. These claims will now be reopened and considered timely.

Workers who participated in the rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations of the World Trade Center between September 11, 2001 and September 11, 2002, should promptly register their service participation with the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board (Board). This registration will preserve workers’ rights to future benefits, should they ever be needed. Employed and volunteer workers should file a notarized Form WTC-12 prior to September 11, 2014, whether they were injured or not. Eligible work includes duty at Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills Landfill, duty on the barges and piers, and the morgues. Paid workers and volunteers covered under the New York State workers’ compensation system are eligible. The filing of the registration Form WTC-12 does NOT constitute the filing of a claim. The filing of the sworn statement does, however, extend the time to preserve the workers’ right to file a claim. Instructions are provided on the Form WTC-12 regarding the filing of a claim. Specifically, when the time comes to file a claim, an injured worker or volunteer should submit Form C-3, Employee Claim, for compensation or Form WTCVol-3, World Trade Center Volunteer’s Claim for Compensation, to the Board.

A completed Form WTC-12 can be submitted to any Board office. Completed forms must be received at any Board office by September 11, 2014. A postmark by this date is not sufficient. Workers can obtain Form WTC-12 from any Board office or from the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board website.

These changes are included in Workers’ Compensation Law § 162.

Previously Time-barred World Trade Center Claims

As stated earlier, any Form WTC-12 filings that were received after the previous original September 13, 2010 deadline are now considered timely. (The deadline was stated in Article 8-A as September 11, 2010, a Saturday;, however, the Board accepted filings that arrived on Monday, September 13, 2010, as timely.)

The Board will review its files to locate any World Trade Center claims previously disallowed asuntimely under Workers’ Compensation Law §§ 18 or 28, or from failure to file a timely Form WTC-12. The Board will, under its own initiative, now allow those particular World Trade Center claims and consider them timely. Workers whose Form WTC-12 were previously deemed untimely will be notified that their cases are no longer time-barred and instructed on how to obtain benefits should they become injured or ill. While the Board will be pro-actively checking its own files and providing notice to claimants, claimants should feel free to contact the Board, so that the Board may provide specific information regarding the reconsideration process. All parties will be notified that their cases are being reopened as their cases are brought forward for consideration. While it is not necessary for claimants to file reopen or hearing requests, the Board wishes to make workers aware that this process is now being initiated.

These changes are in Workers’ Compensation Law §§ 165 and 168.

Qualifying Conditions

Article 8-A now contains a new list of qualifying health conditions resulting from hazardous exposure for World Trade Center workers who participated in rescue, recovery, or clean-up operations. The categories are:

  • Diseases of the upper respiratory tract and mucosae, including conditions such as conjunctivitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis, vocal cord disease, upper airway hyper-reactivity, and tracheo-bronchitis, or a combination;
  • Diseases of the lower respiratory tract, including but not limited to, bronchitis, asthma, reactive airway dysfunction syndrome, and different types of pneumonitis, such as hypersensitivity, granulomatous, or eosinophilic;
  • Diseases of the gastroesophageal tract, including esophagitis and reflux disease, either acute or chronic, caused by exposure or aggravated by exposure;
  • any combination of such conditions; and
  • New onset diseases that develop in the future or result from exposure in the future, including cancer, COPD, asbestos-related diseases, heavy metal poisoning, musculoskeletal disease and chronic psychological disease.

These changes are in Workers’ Compensation Law § 161(3).

Outreach

The Board is committed to ensuring all World Trade Center workers receive the benefits and protections they are accorded under the law. To help achieve this, the Board is in the process of expanding our communication and outreach to World Trade Center workers. Our initiatives include:

  • Translating Form WTC-12 into the seven common languages other than English, designated by the Board’s Language Access Plan;
  • Reopening a dedicated phone line for World Trade Center workers, 1-855-WTC-2014 (1-855-982-2014);
  • Adding a dedicated page to the Board website for World Trade Center workers, www.wcb.ny.gov/WTC-12;
  • Using traditional and social media to reach World Trade Center workers;
  • Planning outreach to workers and groups representing World Trade Center workers; and
  • Mailing letters to previous untimely filers.

The Board’s dedicated World Trade Center work groups and hearing parts have functioned continuously since September, 2001

Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.

James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act Now Covers Many Types Of Cancer

Today as we reflect on the tragic events which took place 11 years ago, we are relieved to learn of the news that the Federal Government is finally  acknowledging what we, as representatives of many of these injured workers have suspected for many years-  that exposure to the toxins around Ground Zero can cause cancer.  We pray for all those who are sick and have died and for those who will continue to become ill as a result of this horrible attack.

The following article from NBC New York written by Brynn Gingras and Greg Cergol details the new coverage that those suffering from cancer are entitled to receive: 

The federal government will now officially add dozens of cancers to the list of illnesses linked to the Sept. 11 attacks, making those who lived or worked near ground zero and later became sick eligible for financial payments, authorities said Monday.

Fourteen categories of cancers, a total of 50, will be added to the illnesses covered in the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health announced.

The Zadroga Act — named after NYPD Detective James Zadroga, who died at 34 after working at ground zero — passed into law two years ago. Despite the hundreds of sick responders, the act did not cover cancer because of a supposed lack of scientific evidence linking cancer to ground zero toxins.

“We have urged from the very beginning that the decision whether or not to include cancer be based on science,” said Mayor Bloomberg in a statement, adding that the decision “will continue to ensure that those who have become ill due to the heinous attacks on 9/11 get the medical care they need and deserve.”

Eighteen-year FDNY veteran Jeff Stroehlein spent several weeks working at ground zero, and is certain the brain cancer he has been fighting for a year is linked to his work there. The father of three welcomes the financial help the federal government will now be offering first responders with cancer, but says it should have arrived much earlier.

“The fact is, the government has turned their back for 11 years now,” he said. “I saw no politicians digging on the pile. If you saw a politician that was sick or on the pile, or their kid was sick or on the pile, this would have been solved months ago.”

Two more scientific studies are expected to be released shortly, which will determine whether more cancers should be added to the list, Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand said in a statement.

“Today’s announcement is a huge step forward that will provide justice and support to so many who are now suffering from cancer and other illnesses,” they said.

About 400 residents and rescue workers have died from cancer since 9/11, according to the New York Post.

With cancer included in the program more victims are likely to seek compensation, which could cause individual awards to be reduced as officials divide up the $2.77 billion fund.

“They’re going to add cancers, but are they going to add more money to the fund?” Thomas “T.J.” Gilmartin, who suffers from lung disease and sleep apnea, said to the Post. “It’s crazy. Every time, we gotta fight. It’s two years since Obama signed that bill, and nobody’s got 10 cents.”

Stroehlein is now cancer-free and feeling well. But at 48, after being forced to give up a job he loved and facing an uncertain future, he’s focusing on speaking to lawmakers for his lost comrades, many of whom lost their life savings in their fight to survive after 9/11.

He’s also troubled by the uncertainty future first responders may face.

“Do you want to give up your life for a government that turned around and didn’t support you?”

Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.

World Trade Center dust and 9/11 first responders with cancer, time for U.S. Government to stop withholding benefits

9/11 first responders move smoldering debris

Many courageous first responders, who saved lives at Ground Zero, have since been diagnosed with cancer, and yet the U.S. government does not pay for their treatment. This Saturday, September 10, CNN will air Terror In The Dust, an investigation by chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta into the consequences of the deadly dust produced by the World Trade Center’s collapse. Gupta speaks with 9/11 heroes and medical experts about the consequences of the carcinogen-filled dust.

A new study released earlier this week by the New York City Fire Department provides good evidence of a link between 9/11 first responders and cancer. The study showed a 32% greater incidence of cancer among firefighters who worked at Ground Zero than those who did not.

The NIOSH study concluded that the 9/11 debris did contain known carcinogens.

The U.S. government does not pay for cancer treatments of 9/11 first responders. This is because Continue reading

Prior results do not guarantee outcomes.