State Legislation To Preserve 9/11 Benefits For Helpers Signed Into Law

Legislation to preserve benefits for those who sacrificed their health and well-being during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack response has been signed into law.

The legislation (S.7797A), sponsored by Sen. Martin Golden, R-Brooklyn, extends the ability for participants injured in World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or clean-up operations to claim workers’ compensation benefits.

“This new law, that I sponsored, extends the period for our 9/11 first responders who have not yet filed a notice of participation to do so. It also allows for 9/11 first responders who became disabled between September 11, 2015 and September 11, 2017 to file a claim before September 11, 2022. Additionally, this legislation allows for those who had their applications denied to have that application reconsidered. Our first responder heroes of 9/11 deserve assistance in getting every benefit to which they are entitled,” Golden said.

Initially, individuals who participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or clean-up operations had until Sept. 11, 2010, to file the required Notice of Participation and become eligible for workers’ compensation. This is the third extension of the deadline to enable fair treatment of those who are still getting diagnosed and coping with WTC-related illnesses. The new law also gives individuals who applied and were denied benefits between Sept. 11, 2015 and Sept. 11, 2017, the opportunity to have their claims reconsidered.

This year, the state Senate passed several bills to enhance benefits and acknowledge the contributions made by 9/11 rescue and recovery workers, police officers, firefighters, and other first responders.

One of those measures (S.6072B), sponsored by Sen. Kenneth LaValle, R-Port Jefferson, was signed into law to create a new special license plate commemorating the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The surcharge collected for the plate will be deposited into the World Trade Center Memorial Scholarship, which provides access to a college education for children, spouses, and financial dependents of innocent victims who died or were severely and permanently disabled as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

“On September 11, 2001, our nation and, in particular our state, experienced an unforgettable tragedy,” LaValle said. “Nearly 3,000 New Yorkers lost their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. The families of those who tragically lost their lives can take some comfort in knowing that no one has forgotten, and feel an additional measure of relief in knowing that their children will have scholarship funds set aside for college tuition.”