2007-03-02 / Front Page

Time Running Out For WTC First Responders To File

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer wants 9/11 workers and volunteers to know that the deadline to preserve the right to file for 9/11 Worker's Compensation claims is fast approaching.

At least 100,000 workers and volunteers who preformed any rescue, recovery, or cleanup work in the vicinity of the World Trade Center are eligible to register with the New York State Worker's Compensation Board. However, fewer than 7,000 have filed, with the final registration deadline August 14, 2007.

"Many volunteers and workers from 9/11 have developed serious physical or mental disorders as a result of their exposure to toxic substances and psychologically traumatic experiences in the aftermath of the World Trade Center disaster. It would be a tragedy in and of itself if these brave Americans who may not be showing signs of illness at the present, were tragically faced with health or mental problems in the future and unable to file a claim for Worker's Compensation," said Pheffer.

Workers and volunteers who do not register by August 14 will not be eligible to file a claim even if they develop a 9/11-related physical or mental illness in the future. The National Council for Occupational Safety, a national coalition of 22 non-profit, non-governmental occupational safety and health organizations in 17 states, is very concerned that tens of thousands of people will miss the registration deadline because they do not know they are at risk and because they do not know that they have an opportunity to register.

There is no residency or citizenship requirement to register with the New York Worker's Compensation board for 9/11 related compensation. If a worker or volunteer is eligible, it does not matter where he or she now lives.

People can go to www.nycosh.org to learn about the eligibility requirements and registration procedure or they can call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline, 1-866-WTC-2556.

The law applies to most people who performed any rescue, recovery or cleanup work, no matter how briefly, either for pay or unpaid, in lower Manhattan south of Canal or Pike Streets between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002. It also applies to those who worked at the Staten Island landfill, the barge operation between Manhattan and Staten Island or the New York City morgue (or any of the temporary morgues set up during that period.)

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