Albany, NY (June 03, 2009) -
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The 9/11 Worker Protection Task Force announced today that it has issued its 2009 Annual Report and that it is working with the Governor’s Office to implement its legislative recommendations for this year. All six legislative changes recommended by the Task Force in its 2008 Interim and Annual Reports were passed by the State Legislature last year. These six recommendations expanded the eligibility criteria in disability law for public employees, in order to:
Dr. Thomas Aldrich (Task Force Chair) (718) 920 6087
Lou Matarazzo (Task Force Co-chair) (212) 587-1000
- eliminate the requirement for pre-employment physicals.
- include injured workers whose exposures were limited to the first hours of the attack.
- include workers who suffered significant exposure-related health effects but whose work locations were not within the boundaries for World Trade Center sites set by law.
- allow workers who have retired or who are on non-World Trade Center-related disability to file for World Trade Center-related disability benefits if they otherwise qualify.
- include law enforcement officers from outside New York City who were deployed to the World Trade Center sites.
- acknowledge the extended time limit for workers’ compensation claims by allowing workers who became disabled after 9/11/03 (the prior time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim) an opportunity to file.
In addition, the Task Force made the following five recommendations for the coming year:
- Tiers I and II of the NYC Teachers’ Retirement System and the Board of Education Retirement System should be included in the World Trade Center Disability Law.
- The definition of “qualifying condition” under Workers’ Compensation Law should be changed from the term “latent condition” to a non-exhaustive list of qualifying conditions based on a similar list from the NYS Retirement and Social Security Law.
- The Workers’ Compensation Board should contact certain 9/11 claimants whose cases have been closed, advise them of their right to file medical evidence and reopen their claims, and suggest that they may wish to consult an attorney and/or attend publicly-funded 9/11 medical clinics.
- The Workers’ Compensation Committee of the Task Force should remain in place to monitor continuing developments in rescue, recovery and cleanup claims.
- New York City and other self-insured employers and carriers should review their internal practices and avoid inappropriate delays of claims and appeals.
The 9/11 Worker Protection Task Force was created in 2005 to assure that public employees who participated in rescue, recovery and cleanup operations, and who sustained any injury or illness directly related to the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, would qualify for accidental disability coverage. During its two years of review, the Task Force has found that responders have suffered severe health problems, that the pension and disability systems may not be configured properly to deal fairly with these after-effects, and that amendments to disability law are needed.
The 19-member Task Force includes appointees from the Governor of New York, World Trade Center worker organizations, state and city comptrollers, the Mayor of New York City and the State Departments of Labor, Health, Civil Service and Budget.
Click here to view the 9/11 Worker Protection Task Force 2009 Annual Report.