Recently, the civil service publication The Chief Leader published several articles discussing the state of 9/11-related disability claims being processed at NYCERS. Statistically, WTC Disability claims are on the chopping block. More are being denied than approved, and the ones that are usually denied take years to be evaluated. Other issues at hand are transparency during the process of filing and overall treatment of claims and claimants by the Medical Board.
Our partner, Sean Riordan, Esq. and several other WTC Disability advocates met with the leading members of NYCERS to address the sluggish turnover rate, the unfortunately high denial rate, and ways to fix the two. Though issues of the handling of claims and claimants is still present, the meeting was regarded as positive:
“On Dec. 7, Melanie Whinnery, the system’s Executive Director, and Ilyse Sisolak, its General Counsel, met with John Feal, founder of the FealGood Foundation, Sean Riordan, legal counsel for the FealGood Foundation, Ben Chevat, the executive director of 9/11 Health Watch, and attorneys Matthew McCauley and Michael Barasch, who specialize in WTC disability claims.
Also in attendance was Dr. Michael Crane, the medical director at the WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai. The meeting lasted 90 minutes.
Both sides were upbeat about the value of the meeting and the prospects for finding common ground going forward. The 9/11-disability advocates presented NYCERS with a four-page memo obtained by this newspaper that highlights dozens of areas where the process could be more transparent and less adversarial, according to the advocates.”, as quoted from the article linked below.
NYCERS, WTC Disability Advocates Meet About Improving Responsiveness
“Far too many people are being denied when they’re truly sick or injured,” said Sean Riordan, an attorney specializing in New York State and New York City disability law. “The biggest problem is most of these municipal employees have already been found disabled by their employers … Most of these people are going to end up being out with no income other than workers’ compensation.”
A conviction on behalf of all workers said by one of our very own-Mr. Sean Riordan, in an article written on NBCNews.com. The article is the story of Sal Turturici, a man who has been diagnosed with terminal liver cancer as a result of working at the Ground Zero site after 9/11. The former EMT wants to speak out for those who don’t get the proper coverage they need. Even though there is legislation in place that is supposed to help those who got sick in the line of duty during or after 9/11, some are still not being given the proper care.The article below concerns some of the details in the WTC Disability Law-particularly the dates of an individuals time working during the aftermath of the attacks.
Another similar story is that of Thomas McHale. He is a former member of the FBI, CIA, and Detective for the NYPD who has been waiting almost a year and a half for his disability pension. 9/11 would not be his first brush with death, or even his first encounter with a terror attack. Upon submission of his medical documents, it was found that McHale needed to provide further medical information for his illnesses. Although submitting his paperwork close to a year ago, his case is still pending.
Both of the stories mentioned are linked below. On top of the well over 2,000 lives that were lost that day, countless survivors are still suffering from illnesses resulting form their bravery at Ground Zero. The complexities of the various laws that were put in place to help survivors and their families make it even harder for them to get the care and coverage they need.
Endless Attack: Sick 9/11 Responders Still Struggle to Get By
“Slap in the face:’ 9/11 hero who fought terror overseas is now ill, but state won’t grant disability pension
Those effected by the catastrophic events of September 11th, 2001 were just given an extension to file for a claim under the Zadroga Act. This legislation was reauthorized on December 18th, 2015. According to the 9/11 Veterans Compensation Fund, filing deadline has been extended from October 3rd, 2016 to December 18th, 2020. The extension was put into effect this past week. This update to the Zadroga Act also results in the Veterans Compensation Fund getting an additional $4.6 billion in funding, available in October 2016. These are just some of the updates made to this bill. This new deadline also applies to all supplementing documents a claimant will need to include in the process of filing. Please see the link below for further information.
This act was made in remembrance of James Zadroga, a New York Police Department officer. The late officer tragically passed away in 2006 of a respiratory disease he contracted as a result of his bravery in the immediate aftermath of September 11th, 2001. After the bill passed into State Government in 2006, it officially passed as Federal law in 2011. As we remember to hold in high esteem those who protect our nation and communities, we cannot forget the importance of taking care of them as well. We must continue to take care of those who take care of us.
James Zadroga Act update
James Zadroga Wikipedia