The workers’ compensation registration deadline for emergency personnel and volunteers who worked at Ground Zero and other related sites after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 is fast approaching.
The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board is working to register applicants through its “Tell Us You Were There” campaign. More than 20,000 rescuers and responders could be eligible for compensation but they must file a WTC-12 form by September 12, according to the New York Post (Post).
“Most people are eligible. You should file a WTC-12 form whether you were injured or not and whether you were employed or volunteered,” the board said on its website. “This preserves your right to future benefits, should you ever need them.”
Applicants must have worked at the World Trade Center site (Ground Zero), at the Fresh Kills Landfill, on barges or piers, or at morgues.
Previous legislation guaranteeing compensation to emergency personnel and volunteers expired September 13, 2010. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation last year that extended the registration deadline and added psychological ailments and several respiratory tract problems to the list of illnesses covered by the fund, silive.com reported.
So far, 40,737 people have registered and 5,165 workers’ compensation claims have been paid to 9/11 rescuers and responders, according to the Post.
The James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2011. The act established the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program, which is designed to ensure that citizens affected by the September 11 terror attacks continue to receive monitoring and treatment for diseases and injuries caused by the events of that day.
The act also reopened the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, which allows victims of the attacks to file claims for economic losses due to physical harm or death, NYC.gov explains. The fund covers numerous types of cancer, aerodigestive disorders, such as chronic cough, asthma, sinusitis, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), sleep apnea, mental health issues and other problems.