FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 2010
A total of 41,094 people who performed rescue, recovery, or clean-up work at the World Trade Center registered their service with the New York State Workers' Compensation Board before the Sept. 13, 2010 deadline. Registering preserves their eligibility for future benefits, should they ever need them.
The Board received more than 12 percent of the total number, or 5,114 filings, in the last two months. To promote awareness of the Sept. 13 deadline this summer, the Board updated and relaunched its English and Spanish Tell Us You Were There radio and television commercials, with former New York Yankee Bernie Williams. The Board also worked with interested parties in the 9/11, medical, fire/emergency services and legal communities to make the public aware of this program.
"It is critically important that everyone who did that difficult and dangerous work at the World Trade Center remain eligible for workers' compensation," Chair Robert E. Beloten said. "The Board thanks everyone who helped us reach these heroes."
While the law typically has a two-year limit on opening a workers' compensation claim, the WTC-12, while not a claim in itself, allows these workers – both paid employees and volunteers – to file future claims. People who performed these activities in the area south of Canal Street, and at Fresh Kills Landfill, on the barges, the piers, and the morgues, up until Sept. 12, 2002, were eligible to file, regardless of immigration status and no matter how long their service lasted or whether they were injured or sickened.
Some workers, such as uniformed members of the New York City Police, Fire and Sanitation Departments, as well as federal employees, are not part of the state system. However, they were encouraged to file a WTC-12 if they worked as volunteers in the eligible areas during the proscribed time, as they may be eligible for benefits based on that voluntary service.
The Sept. 13, 2010, deadline to register World Trade Center service is contained in Sec. 8-A of the Workers' Compensation Law, as established by the state legislature in 2006.