The New York State Workers’ Compensation Board has issued a reminder to those who participated in the rescue, recovery and clean-up of the World Trade Center from September 11, 2001 through September 12, 2002 to register their service with the board.
Registering will preserve the right to future benefits, if needed. The notification applies to all who served, whether employed or as a volunteer, whether injured or not. This includes service at Ground Zero, Fresh Kills Landfill, the barges, the piers, and the morgues. Anyone in these categories should file a WTC-12 form by September 11, 2014. Employees and members of entities that participate in the New York State workers’ compensation system are eligible.
The WTC-12 form enables workers and volunteers who participated in rescue, recovery, and clean-up efforts to register their participation with the board. Filing the form extends the time limit for these workers to file a workers’ compensation claim, preserving their rights to future workers’ compensation benefits, should they ever need the benefits. It allowed workers who developed a latent injury or illness as a result of the WTC attack to remain eligible for benefits. It also allowed the board to re-open claims that were previously denied for not being submitted within the time limits for establishing a claim. (New York City police, fire, and sanitation workers are not eligible, nor are federal employees or foreign nationals.)
As the board explains, health consequences of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 are still developing and remain a public health issue. Many of those who were involved in the rescue and recovery efforts later developed cancer and other illnesses as a result of exposure to dust and toxic substances during their service.