Congressman Vito Fossella (R-NY13) and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY14) today reminded firefighters, police officers and other public employees who were involved in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery or clean-up operations immediately following the September 11th attacks that the deadline for filing a Notice of Participation is today, Thursday, June 14, 2007.
Under the World Trade Center Disability Law, New York City employees and retirees who worked at one of four specified WTC sites for at least 40 hours between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002 (or were unable to work 40 hours due to an injury incurred during WTC related work on September 11 or 12, 2001) and have developed, or develop in the future, certain physical injuries or diseases, must file a Notice of Participation to be eligible to be deemed to have a work-related condition, which would entitle them to a tax-free accidental disability pension.
The four eligible sites are Ground Zero, the Fresh Kills Landfill, the New York City Morgue or the temporary morgue on pier locations on the West Side of Manhattan or the barges between the West Side of Manhattan and Fresh Kills. Diseases covered by the law include, but are not limited to, cancer, respiratory illness, asbestos-related disease, certain skin diseases and various psychological disorders.
Fossella said, “In the days and months after 9/11, brave New Yorkers responded to the attacks and risked their own lives in the rescue, recovery and clean-up operations. Unfortunately, we see today that some of these heroes are falling ill and even dying as a result of their service. 9/11 responders and public employees who are sick today or who fall ill in the future must file a Notice today to ensure they receive compensation for the disabilities they suffered. This is the very last opportunity for our heroes to register their service and preserve their right to apply for accident disability retirement benefits now or in the future.”
Maloney said, “If you’re a City employee and worked in rescue, recovery or cleanup operations, you need to protect yourself and file a notice of participation, even if you’re not sick. I urge everyone who’s eligible for WTC disability benefits to preserve their rights now -if you don’t, it could cost you big time later on.”
To qualify for the benefit, the individual must have passed a physical exam prior to his/her entry into public service, indicating that no such condition existed. Those who retired on regular service retirements but who have suffered a disability have the ability to file for a reclassification of their pension provided that they have a qualifying disease and have suffered a disability because of it. The presumption is available to Fire, Police, and Sanitation Department WTC workers and other City WTC workers.
The WTC Disability Law did not specifically create a new benefit. The law allows eligible members to collect a disability benefit under one of several existing disability laws. Depending on job title, the benefit could be paid as an ordinary disability, accident disability or line of duty disability. The benefit calculation will be based on whatever subdivision of the disability law the individual is retiring under. Retirees may file for any one of the sections of this bill that they are eligible for.
The Notice of Participation is not an application for an accident disability retirement under the law. The Notice preserves an individual’s right to apply for accident disability retirement benefits under the WTC Disability Law in the future, even after retirement.
For more information on filing a Notice, individuals should contact or visit the website of their relevant retirement system.
NYC Employees’ Retirement System:
335 Adams St., Suite 2300
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Fire Department Pension Fund:
(718) 999-7041 or (718) 999-0148;
9 MetroTech Center, Sixth Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201
http://www.ufalocal94.org or http://www.ufoa.org
Police Pension Fund:
Attn: WTC, 233 Broadway, 19th Floor, New York, NY 10279
Board of Education Retirement System:
65 Court St., 16th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201
Teachers’ Retirement System:
55 Water St., New York, NY 10041