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Disability Benefits for Toxic Exposure

How to qualify

Workers’ compensation law and union-negotiated pension and disability benefits cover all city workers. The World Trade Center Disability Law took effect in New York State in 2005, creating special rules to govern workers’ compensation and disability benefits for New York City employees injured or disabled by rescue, recovery or cleanup operations at the WTC and associated areas.

Improved disability retirement benefits for certain New York City employees

The WTC Disability Law covers most New York City employees who responded to the collapse of the World Trade Center, including:

  • Uniformed employees of the New York Police Department (NYPD)
  • Uniformed employees of the Fire Department, City of New York (FDNY)
  • Uniformed employees of the Department of Sanitation, New York City (DSNY)
  • Uniformed employees of the Department of Corrections (DOC)
  • Civilian employees, such as EMS workers, 911 dispatchers and supervisors, and emergency vehicle radio repair mechanics
  • Vested members of a public pension system who stopped working before filing a claim
  • Workers who became disabled more than two years after the WTC disaster and so were unable to file a claim

The law entitles covered employees suffering from certain qualifying physical or mental conditions to receive accidental disability retirement benefits instead of ordinary disability retirement benefits — 75 percent of pay, tax free, instead of 50 percent of pay, taxed. This applies to those who worked at a WTC site for at least 40 hours during the period between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2002 or worked at Ground Zero for any amount of time during the first 48 hours after the attacks.

For the purposes of the WTC Disability Law, WTC sites include almost all of Manhattan south of Canal Street, the Fresh Kills Landfill, the New York City Morgue or temporary morgue locations, emergency vehicle garages and emergency call centers, and areas where city-owned sanitation and emergency vehicles contaminated with WTC debris were cleaned, repaired or rehabilitated.

Applying for accidental disability retirement benefits

The seasoned personal injury attorneys at Barasch & McGarry have decades of experience helping NYC firefighters injured in the line of duty get the disability benefits and pensions to which they are entitled. We can help you through the process of applying and qualifying for the higher, tax-free accidental disability pension you deserve after responding to the WTC collapse. We know how to navigate New York City’s complex bureaucracy quickly and smoothly.

WTC disability law and Zadroga Act benefits

In 2011, the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act reopened the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which provides financial compensation for people who suffered illness or injury as a result of their presence at or near a 9/11 crash site. Receiving financial benefits under the Zadroga Act does not preclude you from qualifying for accidental disability pension benefits under the WTC Disability Law. Furthermore, the World Trade Center Health Program created by the James L. Zadroga Act provides care and covers all of your medical expenses for covered WTC-related health conditions.

Getting all the health and disability benefits you deserve

The WTC disaster continues to reverberate through many of our lives. For those disabled, injured or made ill by toxic exposure to WTC contaminants as they tried to save lives, clean up the mess and begin the rebuilding process, the WTC Disability Law and the James L. Zadroga Act may provide some measure of help.

Barasch & McGarry — helping set things right

Our seasoned personal injury attorneys have helped hundreds of injured rescue, recovery and cleanup workers get hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation from the WTC Victim Compensation Fund. If you feel you may qualify for financial or health benefits under the Zadroga Act, please contact us online or call 888.351.9421 to discuss your eligibility and to begin the application process.

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