Date: March 15, 2017
On September 11, 2016, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation that extends workers’ compensation eligibility and benefits for World Trade Center workers (paid workers and volunteers) under Article 8-A. Most notably, the legislation reopens the World Trade Center Registry; extends the deadline period for filing the Registration of Participation in World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery and/or Clean-up Operations (Form WTC-12) from September 11, 2014, to September 11, 2018; and reopens previously time-barred World Trade Center claims and considers them timely.
Reopening of Registry and Extension of Filing Period for Form WTC-12¹
The World Trade Center Registry, which preserves workers’ compensation rights for those who performed rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations after the World Trade Center attacks is now reopened and will remain open until September 11, 2018. Any prior claims for which the associated Form WTC-12 was received after September 11, 2014, were previously considered to be time-barred, thereby denying entitlement to benefits. These previously submitted claims will now be reopened and reconsidered.
If they have not already done so, workers (paid workers and volunteers) who participated in the rescue, recovery, and clean-up operations of the World Trade Center between September 11, 2001, and September 11, 2002, should promptly register their service participation with the NYS Workers’ Compensation Board (Board). This registration will preserve workers’ rights to future benefits, should they ever be needed.
Paid workers and volunteers should file a notarized Form WTC-12 prior to September 11, 2018, whether they were injured or not. Eligible work includes duty at the World Trade Center site, the Fresh Kills Landfill, the New York City morgue or the temporary morgues on pier locations on the west side of Manhattan, and barges located between the west side of Manhattan and the Fresh Kills Landfill. Paid workers and volunteers are eligible to file. The filing of the registration Form WTC-12 does not constitute the filing of a claim. The filing of the sworn statement does, however, extend the time to preserve the workers’ right to file a claim.
Completed forms must be received at the Board’s Centralized Mailing Address – P.O. Box 5205, Binghamton, NY 13902-5205 – by September 11, 2018. Workers can obtain Form WTC-12 from any Board office or from the Board website.
Filing a Claim
Paid Workers - To file a claim, an injured worker must submit an Employee Claim (Form C-3).
Volunteers - Volunteer workers must submit the World Trade Center Volunteer’s Claim for Compensation (Form WTCVol-3) when they file a claim.² They must also provide the following documentation to complete their claim:
- Proof of volunteer status (letter of commendation/confirmation from the agency that directed their September 11th volunteer activities at Ground Zero, pictures, witness letters, etc.);
- Medical evidence of a causally related injury or illness from volunteering at a designated site;
- Completed Form WTC-12;
- Letter of Denial from the World Trade Center Health Program (WTC HP): the Board now requires that volunteer workers file a claim with the WTC HP before filing a claim with the Board. The denial of benefits letter from the WTC HP should be submitted along with the WTCVol-3;
- If you have submitted a claim to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, the most recent eligibility determination letter, award letter, or other notice of claims status;
- Completed WTC HIPAA Authorization release form; and
- Completed World Trade Center September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Authorization release form.
Form WTCVol-3 contains complete instructions for filing a claim.
Previously Time-barred World Trade Center Claims
As stated earlier, any Form WTC-12 filings that were received after the previous deadline of September 11, 2014 are now considered timely.
The Board will review its files to locate any World Trade Center claims with dates of disablement between September 11, 2012 and September 11, 2015 that were previously disallowed as untimely under Workers’ Compensation Law §§ 18 or 28, or from failure to file a timely Form WTC-12. As those claims are now timely, any prior disallowance will be reconsidered by the Board.³
Workers whose Form WTC-12 were previously deemed untimely will be notified that their cases are no longer time-barred and instructed on how to proceed with their claim. While the Board will be proactively checking its own files and providing notice to claimants, claimants should feel free to contact the Board, so that the Board may provide specific information regarding the reconsideration process. All parties will be notified that their cases are being reopened as their cases are brought forward for consideration.
For more information, please see World Trade Center Assistance, or call (877) 632-4996.
Kenneth J. Munnelly
¹ These changes are included in Workers’ Compensation Law § 162 and 165.
² These changes are included in Workers’ Compensation Law § 168
³ These changes are in Workers’ Compensation Law § 168