FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 11, 2009
(Albany, NY) The New York State Workers' Compensation Board today released new data on the 45,000 workers who filed workers' compensation claims and special affidavits of World Trade Center work, including victims of the attacks and people who performed rescue, recovery and clean-up work.
Board files indicate approximately 37,000 people have either opened workers' compensation cases for injuries and illness suffered during rescue, recovery and clean-up work, or filed a statement advising they participated in those activities, preserving their right to future benefits. Some workers, uniformed members of the New York City Police, Fire and Sanitation Departments and federal employees, are not part of the state system, so they are not included in these totals.
"Illness and injury transcend all human boundaries. Both the victims of terrorism and then those who rushed in to help were altered by this tragedy," Chair Robert E. Beloten said. "The Board will respond in a compassionate and expeditious manner to ensure everyone receives the benefits and justice they deserve."
People who worked on the World Trade Center disaster should visit http://www.wtc12.org or call 877-WTC12-08 to get more information and a WTC-12 form.
The full report, World Trade Center Cases in the New York Workers' Compensation System, is available at http://www.wcb.ny.gov/content/main/TheBoard/WCBWTCReport2009.pdf Some data on the World Trade Center disaster follows.
The Board has 13,676 workers' compensation cases resulting from the World Trade Center disaster. This study focuses on the 11,627 cases where there is comprehensive claim data. More than half the cases were for victims of the attacks, and about 40 percent were for rescue, recovery and clean-up workers. In 5,220 cases, the Board received an initial filing but no medical evidence supporting the claim, or the worker did not pursue the claim (by filing information or attending a hearing). The Board is actively contacting those workers, to determine why they did not pursue their claims. Carriers disputed 40 percent of World Trade Center cases, more than twice the rate of other claims. Three-quarters of all cases were filed before 2004. Only 4 percent of cases have open issues.
There are 2,064 death claims; 2,058 were for people killed in the attacks. The Board has just three death cases for rescue, recovery and clean-up workers. There were three other fatalities, as well. Fifty-two domestic partners of victims received a death benefit, under special provisions of a 2002 law.
In 4,670 claims, rescue, recovery and clean-up workers received benefits. Nearly 90 percent of these cases are for respiratory system diseases. The Board has received 39,151 WTC-12 forms since 2006. On a WTC-12, the filer states he or she performed rescue, recovery and clean-up efforts for the World Trade Center, in an area south of Canal St.; at Fresh Kills Landfill; on the barges, the piers, and at the morgues. While not a claim, it preserves the right to future benefits, should one ever need them. Gov. Paterson signed legislation last year extending the deadline to Sept. 11, 2010, for World Trade Center workers and volunteers to file a WTC-12. Since beginning a national publicity campaign in June 2008, the rate of filings has increased more than tenfold.