Cuomo signs bill to extend WTC filing deadline
Legislation sponsored by Golden, Abbate
A move by Gov.Andrew Cuomo to give workers who assisted in the recovery effort at the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks more time to apply for medical benefits is being praised by Brooklyn lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.
On Sunday, Cuomo signed into law a bill to extend the deadline for people who worked on the rescue, recovery and clean-up operations at Ground Zero to apply for Workers’ Compensation, disability and accidental death benefits under the WTC Disability Law. The new law extends the deadline to Sept. 11, 2018.
The legislation was sponsored by two Southwest Brooklyn lawmakers. State Sen. Martin Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-Southwest Brooklyn) sponsored the bill in the Senate. The Assembly’s version of the bill was sponsored by Assemblymember Peter Abbate (D-Bensonhurst-Dyker Heights-Sunset Park).
“Today, as we mark the 15th anniversary of the attacks on our nation and the World Trade Center, we extend New York’s commitment to those who so courageously responded to help in the face of danger,” Golden said in a statement issued on Sept. 11.
Abbate said the law sends an important message to those who worked at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the attacks 15 years ago.
“Whether you were a first responder in a uniformed workforce or a volunteer at Ground Zero, this bill is a message to you that we will always take care of you and your contribution will never be forgotten,” he stated.
Leaders of the police and fire unions expressed gratitude and relief that the bill is now law.
“The 9/11 registry reopener law is important and will help our members and other New York first responders who may get sick as result of their work in the wake of the terrorist attack on our city,” said Steve Cassidy, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association.
‘There is no expiration date for the heroic sacrifice of the New York City police officers and other first responders and volunteers who were made ill by their service in the weeks and months following 9/11,” Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said.
Fifteen years after the attacks, the pain is still being felt, according to Cuomo.
‘Though Sept. 11 may feel like an eternity ago, we still feel the pain and the loss like it was yesterday, and the thousands of brave men and women who stepped up in our darkest hour are still grappling with the aftereffects. We vow to do whatever we have to do to provide these brave men and women and their families the benefits they deserve,” Cuomo said in a statement.
Cuomo urged 9/11 responders to consider using the World Trade Center Health Program, which is administered by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for treatment and monitoring of their health.
Funding for the program, which is also known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, was recently extended by Congress for 75 years.
Under the Zadroga Act, first responders are seen by medical experts in the field, free of charge. In addition to treating illnesses, the clinics have also begun the process of monitoring the health of first responders.
For more information on the program, visit www.cdc.gov/wtc.
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