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9/11 Injuries

WTC Presumption Helps Eligible Workers Boost Retirement Benefits

December 20, 2018 | Michael Barasch

The New York State and Local Retirement System (NYSLRS), in addition to other city and state pension systems (including the FDNY, NYPD, and NYCERS), provides pension benefits for workers who have served the required length of time. For some workers, the package could be slightly more than 50 percent of their final average salary (FAS). But workers who are forced into retirement because of a work-related disability receive a much greater package: 75 percent of their FAS. For this reason, it is advantageous for every eligible worker to make sure their retirement is properly classified as a disability retirement. If you participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery, or cleanup efforts and have since retired, the World Trade Center Presumption Law may help you reclassify to a WTC disability pension. The result would be a more comfortable retirement for you and greater support for your dependents.

The WTC Presumption Law says that if your permanently disabling condition is the result of your participation in the events of September 11th and after, you qualify for an accidental disability unless it can be proven your condition is the result of other factors.

The qualifications for a reclassification are as follows:

  • You were an active member of NYSLRS on September 11, 2001.
  • As you entered service, you took and passed a required physical exam that did not show the existence of your disabling condition, or you can present medical records showing the absence of the condition.
  • You participated in WTC rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations within the first 48 hours of the attack or a minimum of 40 hours at any time between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002. Your participation must have taken place at the WTC site (encompassing most of lower Manhattan), the New York City morgue or any temporary morgues, the Fresh Kills Landfill, or on the barges that ran between Manhattan and the Fresh Kills Landfill. If you were not a rescue or recovery worker, you could still be eligible if you worked at certain specified NYPD, FDNY, or emergency medical services sites during the first 24 hours or worked on New York City-owned vehicles and equipment that were exposed.
  • The Retirement System has ruled you are permanently incapacitated and unable to perform your job.

To begin, you must file an Application for World Trade Center Accidental Disability Presumption by the new deadline, September 11, 2022. If you are not currently disabled but you fit the other criteria, you should preserve your rights by filing an Application for World Trade Center Notice by the same deadline.

As determined lawyers for 9/11 victims, we want to see all eligible parties receive the full measure of benefits they deserve. Barasch & McGarry has recovered more than $2 billion for 9/11 victims. If you need assistance accessing your 9/11 benefits or reclassifying your NYSLRS pension, call us at [ln::phone] or contact our Manhattan office online.

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