Advocates for 9/11 Volunteers are diligently working to reach as many volunteers as possible to make them aware that they may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under New York State Law. Typically volunteer workers in any capacity are not eligible for workers’ compensation. However, in 2002, the 9/11 Volunteer Fund was set up by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board to provide benefits those Ground Zero volunteers who were injured or became ill from the toxins in the air during their volunteer efforts.
Since 2002, the 9/11 Volunteer Fund was only compensating those who were volunteering under agencies such as FEMA or the Red Cross. Advocates argue that this was unfair to those who had selflessly gone down Ground Zero on their own volition and strongly feel that these benefits were improperly denied. Just recently it was announced that the Workers’ Compensation Board will reconsider and offer workers’ compensation benefits to those who did not volunteer under an agency. According to a recent Newsday article, the appellate division will review “any re-opening/re-consideration requests for Claimants who have received decisions which were decided upon the volunteer affiliation basis.”
In the Newsday article, Troy Rosasco says, “I see this decision as having a wide-ranging impact on a number of workers’ compensation issues in the future.” The 9/11 Volunteer Fund is federally funded and originally had $50 million allotted to compensate sick and injured 9/11 volunteer workers. There is still $15 million left to be distributed to those who are entitled. This is in addition to compensation for illnesses and injuries through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
If you or someone you know was an unaffiliated 9/11 volunteer and would like more information about compensation through the 9/11 Volunteer Fund, you can call, click the chat button or contact us at the top of this page.