NYS Seal For Immediate Release:
March 21, 2007


Assembly Passes Silver's Bill To Aid WTC Victims

Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver today announced the passage of legislation to continue the reimbursement of counseling expenses for relief workers or individuals who personally witnessed the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

"As the Assemblyman from Lower Manhattan who saw one of the airliners hitting the towers, I am terribly aware of the pain and suffering that resulted from the September 11 attack. This bill will help ensure that those who are trying to overcome the ongoing effects of 9/11 can continue to have access to the counseling services they need to bring some level of comfort and sanity to their lives," said Silver.

Under the bill (A.6621, Silver / S.3039, Maltese), traumatized bystanders who were within a 10-block radius of the WTC site when the attack occurred and relief workers would continue to have their counseling services reimbursed until December 31, 2007. This benefit is available without regard to the residence or financial difficulty of a claimant. The rate of reimbursement is determined by a claimant's treating counselor or independent medical examiner and is based on a percentage of the counseling service that is related to the claimant's injury that is a direct result of the 9/11 attack. There is no cap on the reimbursement expense.

To assist the families who lost loved ones in the terrorist attack, the bill would permanently eliminate the Surrogate Court's filing fees in any matter relating to the estates or affairs of persons missing or deceased as a result of the 9/11 tragedy. In addition, the bill would make permanent the payment of reasonable burial expenses for victims of the attack.

Silver has sponsored a series of initiatives to address the many pressing health, safety and public policy issues caused by the attack, including the World Trade Center disability benefit for first responders bill (Chapter 104 of the laws of 2005) and the World Trade Center death benefits for first responders (Chapter 445 of the laws of 2006). The bill was delivered to the state Senate.