With the signing of the 9/11 Notice Act into law by Governor Kathy Hochul, thousands of individuals who may be unaware of their health coverage eligibility for exposure to toxins in Lower Manhattan will be notified by their employers of their rights to register for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and World Trade Center Health Program.
The signing of the legislation, passed unanimously by the State Senate and Assembly in 2023 and introduced by Assemblyman Nader Sayegh (D-Dist. 90 Yonkers) and Senator Brian Kavanagh (D-Dist. 27 Manhattan), will ensure that individuals who were in the Lower Manhattan and northern Brooklyn exposure zones between September 2001 and the end of May 2002 are made aware by employers of their rights to register for protection.
At the press conference announcing the introduction of the bill, Managing Partner Mike Barasch stated: “Tens of thousand of workers, former students and residents of Lower Manhattan are still unaware of their eligibility. Families who have lost a loved one to cancer don’t realize that they also are entitled to significant awards. Thankfully, most first responders are registered due to the insistence of their unions and the city and state agencies that employed them. But, most non-responders who returned to work (after the EPA assured us that the ‘air was safe’) are unaware of the protections available to them as well. Cancers and other illnesses caused by 9/11 toxins can take decades to develop, and all too many people don’t realize that there is a presumption linking 69 cancers to the WTC dust.”
The new law requires businesses and institutions that had people return to work after the attacks to notify their employees of their potential eligibility for the VCF and WTC Health Program. New York State’s Economic Development Agency and Department of Labor will coordinate a plan to provide adequate notice of the benefits available.