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New Law Renews and Expands the WTC Workers Task Force

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation reauthorizing the September 11th Workers Protection Task Force through 2025, amid calls for stronger efforts to protect World Trade Center first responders during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

First assembled in 2005, the task force’s original mandate was to study and track the health problems suffered by 9/11 first responders and to identify gaps in pension and disability programs available to these heroes. The new law, signed by Cuomo on the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, revives the task force, which has been mostly inactive in recent years. It also revitalizes it by refreshing its staff, expanding its areas of study and creating a biannual meeting requirement designed to enhance the force’s accountability and reporting of results.

The new law expands the task force’s mandate to include analysis of:

  • Average processing times for disability claims
  • Approval rates for claims
  • Claim appeals processes
  • Lack of disability coverage for public employees who assisted in World Trade Center-related work but were not members of a retirement system at the time
  • The process of identifying people who assisted in the response

Since 9/11, at least 10,000 first responders and people who lived, worked, or attended school in the 9/11 Exposure Zone have been diagnosed with cancer. More than 2,000 have died of their 9/11-related illness or cancer. But the task force reauthorization comes at a time when first responders are dying in significant numbers from COVID-19, which preys on those with underlying health conditions like respiratory problems and compromised immune systems, both major issues afflicting the 9/11 community.

The pandemic highlights the need for more access to health care for first responders. “This population faces profound additional risks from the coronavirus pandemic … and we must do everything in our power to ensure our 9/11 responders have the benefits and health care they need at this time,” according to New York Senator Andrew Gounardes who, along with Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato, co-authored the task force revival bill.

At Barasch & McGarry, we are pleased to see the expansion and revitalization of the Sept. 11 Workers Protection Task Force and look forward to seeing the benefits it provides to the community. If you are a 9/11 survivor or first responder and have questions about benefits programs that you may qualify for, please call our New York attorneys at 888-351-9421 or contact us online. Initial consultations are free.

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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

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "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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