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Workers' Comp and Disability Claims for 9/11 Workers

We protect the legal rights of rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers

In the years since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack, the State of New York has established several benefits for rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers who became ill due to their work at Ground Zero. Even decades later, many workers still deal with chronic health problems and need workers' compensation and disability benefits.

If you participated in rescue, recovery, and cleanup work at Ground Zero and became ill or lost a loved one to a 9/11-related disease, we would be honored to protect your legal rights. Contact Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation with one of our workers' compensation and disability attorneys.

Workers' compensation claims for certified illnesses

In September 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed an amendment to the New York Workers' Compensation Act, creating special protections for rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers. Under the law, certified illnesses defined by the CDC's World Trade Center Health Program are presumed to be work-related. These illnesses fall into several categories, including but not limited to:

  • Aerodigestive disorders: diseases that affect the airway, esophagus, and lungs, caused by inhalation of dust clouds and other chemicals. Examples of aerodigestive disorders include asthma, emphysema, gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), reactive airway dysfunction syndrome (RADS), and chronic laryngitis.
  • Cancer: any cancer that can be caused by carcinogens (cancer-causing substances) found at Ground Zero, including lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, mesothelioma, thyroid cancer, skin cancer, and many more.
  • Mental health conditions: various mental conditions caused by the trauma of participating in 9/11 rescue and recovery efforts, including anxiety disorders, depression, panic disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Typically, to file a workers' compensation claim, the onus is on the worker to prove that the injury was work-related. This law shifts that burden of proof to the insurance company – meaning they have to prove your illness was not work-related if they want to deny your claim on that basis.

The 2022 law also created a two-year window for rescue, recovery, and cleanup workers whose claims were previously denied to file new claims.

Workers' compensation disability benefits for September 11 workers

New York law also enables workers who were disabled by a 9/11-related illness to file a workers' compensation disability claim. The most current law enables workers who became disabled between September 11, 2017, and September 11, 2021, to file a claim before September 11, 2026. Workers affected by this law can file new claims even if they previously had a claim denied.

The same law also extends the deadline to file a notice of participation in the disability pension system for state workers until September 11, 2026.

If you became ill or lost a loved one, contact our workers' compensation attorneys

If you were affected by a 9/11-related illness and need assistance with disability benefits or workers' compensation, don't hesitate to contact us immediately. We may be able to help you with the registration. Give us a call or complete the online contact form for a free consultation. We are experienced New York work accident attorneys who fight aggressively to protect the rights of those who were injured or sustained disabilities.