Assemblyman Pete Lopez (R,C,I – Schoharie) is reminding 9/11 responders to register with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to preserve their future rights to workers’ compensation.
“The heroes who worked at the 9/11 site need to know that they may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the future,” stated Lopez. “Many brave men and women from the 127th District put the victims ahead of themselves, and anyone that worked there needs to hand in their application by August 14th in order to ensure that they receive the benefits they deserve.”
The New York State Legislature has enacted legislation extending the deadline for filing a claim. If workers and volunteers involved in rescue, recovery and cleanup work register before August 14, 2007, they can file a claim if they become sick in the future. Less than 5,000 people have registered so far, and tens of thousands are still eligible.
Eligible individuals include those that worked or volunteered between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002 at the following sites:
- Anywhere in Manhattan south of Canal or Pike Streets,
- On the barge operation between Lower Manhattan and Staten Island,
- At the Staten Island landfill, or
- At the New York City morgue.
The long-term health effects of breathing in the toxic dust are not known and while responders may not show ill effects now, they could develop conditions as far as twenty to thirty years down the line.
Those that were exposed to toxic dust or psychological trauma may be eligible for workers’ compensation and need to register now in order to protect their right to file a claim. Information on this program and the forms necessary to sign up are available at www.nycosh.org. You can also call the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health hotline at 1-866-WTC-2556.
“It is imperative that these volunteers and workers get their applications in as soon as possible,” Lopez added. “After all of the sacrifice and hard work they have done, I would hate to see anyone denied because their applications weren’t in by the deadline.”