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New Bill Further Expands Sick Leave Rights for 9/11 Responders

Toxic exposure at Ground Zero has sickened thousands of first responders, many of whom have sought assistance from the World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. Unfortunately, these beneficial programs do not meet the most immediate needs of these victims: paid leave during treatment for cancer and other debilitating illnesses. As a result, many responders exhaust their paid sick leave and either go on disability at a reduced rate of pay or have their disability claim denied, forcing them to rely on their savings. Certainly this is no way to treat the heroes who responded so valiantly on 9/11 and in the days, weeks and months that followed. Fortunately, the New York State Legislature and Governor Cuomo agree.

Last year, Governor Cuomo signed a law designed to ensure that former NYC first responders who had moved out of the city and were working for other government agencies had the same benefits as members of the New York City Police Department, New York City Fire Department, New York City Department of Correction and New York City Department of Sanitation. The 2017 law allowed unlimited paid sick leave for public employees at state agencies, authorities and municipalities outside New York City, who had developed illnesses due to their rescue, recovery and clean-up activities at Ground Zero. However, it soon became clear the law did not go far enough: it left out responders who came from other areas of the state and classes of employees, such as utility workers, who are not generally considered first responders.

As Yonkers firefighters union president and 9/11 first responder Barry McGoey attested, “Many first responders from the surrounding community and all of the state of New York [are] becoming ill many years later and are forced to use their own sick leave.”

To close the coverage gap, a bipartisan bill has been introduced in the Senate and the Assembly that would grant unlimited sick leave to 9/11 responders throughout New York State to seek treatment for 9/11-related conditions.

As attorneys who have been fighting for 9/11 compensation since the beginning, Barasch & McGarry supports expanding unlimited sick leave to all who served. We look forward to Governor Cuomo signing the bill and opening these benefits to those who deserve them.

For a free consultation with a knowledgeable attorney who can help you obtain the benefits you deserve, please contact us online or call Barasch & McGarry at 888-351-9421.

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  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

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  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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