Sept. 11 compensation benefits deadline looming
If you helped out at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, time is running out to apply for workers compensation benefits in New York State.
According to Charlene Obernauer, the executive director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, this Thursday, Sept. 11, is the last day for 9/11 responders to apply for benefits.
"The deadline is final, so if people responded after 9/11, what we're recommending that they do is just to go ahead and register whether or not they're sick. If you don't register then you can't access the benefits in the future," Obernauer said.
She added "you never know if you're going to be sick in the future, you never know how badly 9/11 may have impacted your health until you actually see what the results are.
Obernauer said all forms must be received by 5 p.m. Thursday and "what people need to do is first, they need to fill out the form - it's an eight-question form that is in eight different languages. It should be pretty easy for people to fill out, and the form must be notarized."
Obernauer said about 41,000 people have registered so far, but it's believed that tens of thousands have not.
"Many people may not have registered because when you think about workers compensation, you may think it's for people who are sick," she said. "But this is like having health insurance, you don't wait to get health insurance until after you realize you are sick, you have health insurance and if you need it then you use it."
She added "once you register, if you do get sick and if you have one of the sixty seven 9-11 related illnesses or diseases, then you can access not only medical benefits but wage replacement benefits as well."