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New Proposed “9/11 Employee Notification Act” Aims to Include More Lower Manhattan Workers in the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

What Is The 9/11 Employee Notification Act?

The New York State Legislature recently proposed new legislation known as the “9/11 Employee Notification Act”   (Assembly Bill A9715A) to inform downtown Manhattan workers about the benefits they deserve from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. This much needed legislation is vital for the hundreds of thousands of workers who don’t know they are substantial tax-free compensation for any 9/11 related illnesses, including most any type of cancer. Downtown workers are also entitled to free lifetime medical care through the World Trade Center Health Program.

Specifically, this important bill would require any business with 50 or more employees which operated in the downtown Manhattan 9/11 Exposure Zone between 9/11/2001 and 5/30/2002 to notify past and current employees of their eligibility for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.

At least 360,000 lower Manhattan workers were exposed to toxic air, dust, and fumes between 9/11 and when the Ground Zero clean-up was completed on May 30, 2002. Most of these workers still don’t know that they may be eligible for 9/11 benefits including lifetime medical care and tax-free compensation for 9/11 related illnesses, including over 70 different types of cancer.

These downtown workers breathed in the same toxic air as first responders. In the years since, they’ve developed cancers, chronic illnesses, and disabling lung conditions because they returned to work in Lower Manhattan during the days and months after 9/11 after the federal government told them the air was safe. Yet, most of these workers have no idea that their exposure to toxins after 9/11 caused their disabling medical conditions and cancers – serious conditions that were diagnosed often many years later. They also do not know that they could qualify for free healthcare, monitoring, and compensation.

Many common cancers – skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer, colon cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia rand dozens of others – are proven to be linked to 9/11 toxic exposure.  Doctors are just now diagnosing these cancers. A cancer diagnosis can set families, even with good medical insurance, back thousands of dollars which can lead to bankruptcy. This bill hopes to save these families and 9/11 survivors from the prospect of crushing medical debt. It offers them a lifeline to receiving the free life-saving treatment (plus tax-free compensation) that has been set aside for anyone who lived or worked in lower Manhattan on 9/11 or any time through May 30, 2002.

But for those who worked in lower Manhattan on and after 9/11, there has been a lack of awareness of the significant health and compensation benefits available from the federal 9/11 programs. The 9/11 Employee Notification Act would help to remedy this lack of awareness and direct lower Manhattan businesses to notify the hundreds of thousands of NYC downtown workers that they likely qualify for tax-free compensation and lifetime 9/11 health coverage.

Officials estimate that less than 10 percent of workers and survivors who qualify for coverage have enrolled to receive these free benefits. Why? Because many do not even realize that they qualify for coverage. This new law looks to change that.

How Will the “9/11 Employee Notification Act” Affect Businesses?

Assemblyman Nade Sayegh introduced the “9/11 Employee Notification Act” (A.9715), and Brian Kavanagh introduced the Senate version of the same bill (S. 9551). This “Notice Act” would require New York businesses with greater than 50 employees to notify past and current workers of their potential eligibility for 9/11 benefits coverage.

If the “Notice Act” passes, businesses operating between September 11, 2001 and May 30, 2002 and located in lower Manhattan south of Canal Street, will be required to send a notice to current and former employees. This notice will include details about their eligibility to register and apply for benefits under the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

It has been proven that workers in the 9/11 Exposure Zone (south and west of Canal Street from the Hudson River to the intersection of Canal Street and East Broadway) breathed in dangerous and harmful toxins in the months after the 9/11 attacks. These toxic pollutants in the air have resulted in significant harm to their health and well-being.

Workers in Lower Manhattan Qualify for WTC Health Program Coverage

In 2011, the Zadroga Act passed and established the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC Health Program). This program provides lifetime healthcare to anyone who suffers from a covered disease and health conditions caused by breathing in toxic dust and air in the months after 9/11, including over 70 different types of cancer.

Unfortunately, Many Workers Do Not Even Realize They Qualify for this Coverage

They may not know that their presence near Ground Zero or in the lower Manhattan “9/11 Exposure Zone” after 9/11 caused their asthma, lung cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer, or breast cancer, among other conditions. Given that the 9/11 attacks occurred over 21-years ago, many workers do not make the connection between the toxic air and a cancer or other disease that was diagnosed many years later. Many downtown area workers also assume that the federal 9/11 healthcare and compensation programs cover only the first responders. In fact, the downtown workers and area residents are fully covered by these programs as well.

That’s why New York State lawmakers introduced the “9/11 Employee Notification Act.” This proposed new law will make businesses in lower Manhattan responsible for informing their workers (past and present) of their potential eligibility. It is hoped that this will encourage more workers to also enroll in the WTC Health Program, securing lifetime coverage.

Collecting 9/11 Health Benefits as a Worker

To get free healthcare and monitoring through the WTC Health Program, workers can contact a 9/11 lawyer to help them apply.

You do not need to prove that 9/11 toxins and dust caused your cancer, illness, or disabling lung condition. 

All you need to prove is two things and the law then presumes that your cancer or other illness was caused by the 9/11 toxins:

  1. You were in the 9/11 Exposure Zone between September 11, 2001, and July 31, 2002. The New York City Exposure Zone includes the area of Manhattan that runs south of Houston Street.  It also includes areas along the routes of debris removal.
  2. You were diagnosed with any cancer, medical illness, or lung condition since 9/11. There are more than 70 cancers, and dozens of approved medical conditions.

It Is Not Too Late To Get Approved and Qualify for Benefits

Even though the terrorist attacks on 9/11 occurred 21 years ago, it is not too late to seek benefits. Eligible lower Manhattan workers (as well as residents, students, and responders) have until the year 2090 to obtain free medical healthcare and monitoring (including prescription coverage) through the WTC Health Program.

You Do Not Have to Live in New York or Work in New York to Qualify

To qualify, you do not currently have to live or work in New York. Many workers who commuted to and from the Exposure Zone on or after 9/11 no longer work in New York. Thousands have moved and now work and live in New Jersey, New England, Florida, the Carolinas, and across all 50 United States and Puerto Rico. These workers often do not know they likely qualify for healthcare benefits and monitoring and that these benefits are available nationwide (and worldwide) no matter where you live today. They often have no idea that their cancer or medical condition is related to 9/11 – but it likely is.

Our 9/11 Lawyers Can Help Workers Navigate the Law

If you’re an employee who worked in the Exposure Zone for work after 9/11, we can help. Hansen & Rosasco’s 9/11 Health Program and VCF compensation lawyers know how to help you establish what is needed for a successful claim. We gather the required “Proof of Presence in the 9/11 Exposure Zone,” including interviewing witnesses and drafting and submitting the necessary affidavits. Our legal assistance can make this complex application process infinitely easier. Our lawyers have helped thousands of first responders, residents, and workers get the benefits they are entitled to since 9/11.

Can I Have My Case Reviewed by 9/11 Lawyers?

Having your case reviewed by VCF lawyers at Hansen & Rosasco, LLP, is easy. Simply call our office at  855-201-7087 today so we can talk. We want to hear your story and learn more about you and what has happened since 9/11.

We work quickly and efficiently to build a solid case for you and can help you get the benefits you deserve. Our lawyers are passionate about what we do, and it shows. Put our decades of dedicated 9/11 experience to work for you.

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