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New NY State Law Allows Unlimited Sick Leave for Government-Employed 9/11 First Responders

New York State lawmakers recently addressed an inequitable situation creating hardship for 9/11 responders who work on state and municipal payrolls outside of New York City. In the years since the terrorist attacks, thousands of first responders and rescue and recovery workers have become sick due to exposure to toxic air at Ground Zero, but only those based in New York City were given unlimited paid sick leave for medical treatment. Workers from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, or Upstate often exhausted their sick leave and suffered severe financial consequences.

Finally, this July, the New York Legislature passed S6398A, a bill sponsored by Senators Martin J. Golden and Todd Kaminsky, and A00711B, a bill sponsored by Aileen Gunter, extending the right of unlimited sick leave to all state and municipal workers who develop a 9/11-related illness.

Also, according to Politico, “The Legislature… passed a bill that provides volunteer firefighters who contract certain cancers with enhanced disability benefits, the same kind career firefighters receive.” This may include a lump sum payment of $25,000 or $1,500 per month of disability. Families of firefighters who die from 9/11-related illnesses are eligible for a $50,000 benefit.

The new laws are a major step forward, especially as we see more and more 9/11 survivors develop illnesses such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, and testicular cancer that have long latency periods. Unfortunately, we are beginning to learn that illnesses suffered by responders and recovery workers are only the tip of the iceberg. What lurks beneath the surface are potentially tens of thousands of future victims: teachers and students, office workers, and lower Manhattan residents, who believed the government’s declaration that the air was safe to breathe. New York and the nation must be prepared to respond to this coming health crisis.

For now, help is available through the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund. Survivors can register for free health screenings if they were present in Manhattan below Canal Street on these dates:

  • September 11, 2001 when the toxic dust cloud was released, or
  • For at least 24 hours between September 11 and September 30, 2001, or
  • For at least 80 hours between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002

Eligible people who have become sick with a 9/11-related condition, including one or more of 68 recognized cancers, may also be eligible for monetary compensation, but they must file within two years of their diagnosis.

If you have questions about your eligibility for benefits from the WTC Health Program or the Victim Compensation Fund, contact our experienced attorneys who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call Barasch & McGarry at 888-351-9421 or contact our office online.

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Compensation available to residents and office workers, teachers and students – not just responders and volunteers
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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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