NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
August 14, 2006


Statement on WTC Death Benefits Bill Signing

Almost every day, New Yorkers learn the sad prospects of heroes who thought nothing of the long-term health consequences or the death benefits to which their families would be entitled when taking their courageous actions on September 11, 2001. Nearly five years after the attacks, the long-term impact of prolonged exposure at Ground Zero and to the site's debris is still unknown.

The legislation I sponsored, which is being signed by the governor today, provides accidental death benefits to those courageous responders who were exposed to toxic substances in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

This legislation seeks to correct the injustice that has left brave men and women not only facing their own grim prognosis but also worrying about the financial security of their dependents and loved ones.

This law builds upon measures enacted last year aimed at protecting World Trade Center responders by making it easier for them to secure accidental disability benefits for certain illnesses. We owe them not only our utmost respect and gratitude, but also whatever peace of mind New York State can provide.