Lawmakers seek to extend deadline for WTC victims to get medical help
Even 13 years later, people who worked on the recovery efforts at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of Sept. 11 are in need of medical help, according to Assemblymember Peter Abbate, who is working to extend a deadline by which they could apply for assistance from New York state.
Abbate (D-Dyker Heights-Bensonhurst) was the assembly sponsor of a bipartisan bill to reopen the notice of participation in a health program for those who worked in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at the World Trade Center site. State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southwest Brooklyn) was the state senate sponsor.
The bill will become law, but only if Gov. Andrew Cuomo signs it.
The legislation calls for the extension of the deadline by which those seeking assistance would have to apply for help.
Specifically, the bill would amend the World Trade Center Disability Law, a state law governing how injuries and illnesses suffered post-Sept. 11 at the World Trade Center site are handled.
“We have to help these people. They didn’t apply for help before, but they’re just finding out now that they’re sick,” Abbate told the Brooklyn Eagle.
Golden called on Cuomo to sign the legislation. “The World Trade Center Disability Law has played a significant role in addressing the health and benefits of those who responded on New York’s darkest of days and thereafter. We are aware that there are still more who qualify, yet have not applied, and they should have every opportunity to register,” he said.
“The tragedy at the World Trade Center showed us the best in our emergency services, unions and citizens, and we need to now show them they we have not forgotten their sacrifice,” Golden added.
In 2013, Cuomo signed an extension for World Trade Center workers to file for disability pensions and Workman’s Compensation, according to zadrogaclaimsinfo.com.
On the recent 13th anniversary of Sept. 11, Golden hosted two community memorials, one at the 69th Street pier in Bay Ridge and another at Marine Park. Golden was also among the elected officials who participated in a ceremony held at the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton.
Abbate said the legislation he and Golden sponsored was based on a recommendation from a state Sept. 11 commission that sought to cast a wider net to help victims. The commission, organized by the governor nearly a decade ago, is composed of doctors and other officials.
“They recommended it. We passed it,” Abbate said. “I would assume the governor will sign it,” Abbate said.
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