Category Archives: 9/11

Public Employees, Claim Your World Trade Center Disability Law Benefits

January 2015 is a milestone for me as it marks my 25th anniversary as an attorney.

It is always imperative to keep up with changes in the laws, particularly those impacting injured workers as I focus on Workers’ Compensation claims. I am the daughter of a retired NYC Firefighter and the sister of two firefighters, one of whom retired on a disability pension as a result of his lung condition caused by the toxins in the air after 9/11. Besides needing to know the law as a professional, I want to know about updates, as they can affect my family.

For those public employees who were at the World Trade Center site after September 11, 2001, in rescue or recovery, or were public civilian employees injured as a result, it is imperative that you notify your retirement system that you were present. Under the State World Trade Center Disability Law, those sickened by their recovery work are eligible to receive lifelong enhanced disability payments upon retirement and your families can receive benefits if you pass away. In 2013, New York State Senator Martin Golden and State Assemblyman Peter Abbate co-sponsored a bill that extended the deadline to file the Notice of Participation until September 11, 2014. This deadline was subsequently extended again until September 11, 2015 for members of those “covered” employees.

Some employees had previously been denied coverage because their diseases were not initially covered. The law protects the following individuals who responded to the collapse of the WTC: Uniformed members of the NYPD, FDNY, DSNY, and DOC, and other civilian employees including EMS workers, 911 dispatchers and supervisors, emergency vehicle radio repair mechanics, vested members of a public pension system who stopped working before filing a claim, and workers who became disabled more than two years after the WTC disaster but before the Workers’ Compensation Law was extended.

Civilian employees who did not have a pre-employment physical can apply for a disability pension by providing medical records that show no pre-existing condition before 9/11. Death benefit legislation, enacted in 2006, provides an accidental death benefit to City employees within this same eligibility group.

The bill allows police officers, firefighters, and other civilian employees hired before July 26, 1976, who retired for non-WTC accidental disability to have their retirement reclassified as accidental. Verification of service at a WTC site during the period indicated varies according to the pension system. Independent medical boards (each pension system has its own medical board) review the applications initially and report to the Boards of Trustees. If a disability is found, the pension system’s Board of Trustees makes a final decision on the application.

Only 911 operators and supervisors who worked within the first 24 hours after the first plane hit the Towers are eligible for WTC-related benefits. In addition, 911 operators and supervisors may only apply for benefits based on the qualifying psychological conditions.

While this extension is not anticipated to open up a floodgate of additional claims, for those people who qualify, the benefits can be substantial. The size of the payments depends on the worker’s job title, when they were hired, and their retirement tier. While there can be no real compensation when your health is affected, this is a small step to assist our First Responders who deserve to have their retirement less worrisome when it comes to financial issues.


Catherine M. Stanton is a senior partner in the law firm of Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP. She focuses on the area of Workers’ Compensation, having helped thousands of injured workers navigate a highly complex system and obtain all the benefits to which they were entitled. Ms. Stanton has been honored as a New York Super Lawyer, is the past president of the New York Workers’ Compensation Bar Association, the immediate past president of the Workers’ Injury Law and Advocacy Group, and is an officer in several organizations dedicated to injured workers and their families. She can be reached at 800.692.3717.

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When Will the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act Cover Cancer Victims?

first responderA recent New York Times article examined the causes for delays in getting sick 9/11 first responders coverage under the Zadroga bill for cancers caused by their works at Ground Zero. We take pride in representing injured first responders and are advocates for fully compensating those who were injured while sacrificing for others. If you have any questions about the Zadroga bill, or think you may have a Zadroga-related claim, please contact us.

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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

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