One Year Remaining for 9/11 Workers to Register for Workers’ Comp Program

Time is running out for workers and volunteers who participated in rescue, cleanup or recovery operations following the attack on the World Trade Center to register with New York State’s Workers’ Compensation Board to preserve the right to file for 9/11-related workers’ compensation.

Only 12 months remain until the final registration deadline of Sept. 11, 2010. Those who have yet not registered must do so in order to file for medical and wage replacement benefits if they are currently sick or if they are concerned they might get sick in the future.

At least 100,000 workers and volunteers who performed any rescue, recovery or cleanup are eligible to register with the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board under legislation enacted by the New York State Legislature in 2006. To date, 39,187 persons have registered with the Board, according to the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).

“The deadline is fast approaching and we know from the numbers of people who are sick now, that those numbers are going to continue to keep rising in the future. The efforts to reach the 9/11 workers and volunteers who aren’t yet registered must continue,” said Joel Shufro, NYCOSH executive director.

The original deadline for registration was Aug. 14, 2007. The law was amended to extend the deadline several times and in June 2008, the State Legislature extended the deadline to Sept. 11, 2010.

At Risk

Thousands of people who participated in rescue, recovery or cleanup work after 9/11 are now sick. Many have died. Many more who are not currently suffering from a 9/11 related illness may become sick in the future. The majority of people who performed any rescue, recovery or cleanup work after 9/11 are living scattered across New York State. However, workers came to New York City from across the country and later returned to their homes; others, who were residents of New York, may have moved or left the country. Many of them are unaware that they are at risk of developing 9/11-related disorders. Many also do not know that by registering before Sept. 11, 2010, they can protect their right to free healthcare if they ever develop a 9/11-related illness.

There is no residency or citizenship requirement for a worker or volunteer to register with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board for 9/11-related compensation. Immigration status, whether documented or not, does not affect a person’s eligibility status.

The law applies to most people who performed any rescue, recovery or cleanup work, no matter how briefly, either paid or unpaid, in lower Manhattan south of Canal or Pike Streets between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 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).

Information about the program and the WTC-12 registration form is available on the NYCOSH Web site.

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