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Governor Cuomo Reconstitutes September 11 Workers Protection Task Force

October, 2020

On the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed legislation reconstituting the September 11 Workers Protection Task Force. Originally formed in 2005, the Task Force was created to monitor the health and welfare of workers who participated in rescue, recovery, and response at the World Trade Center site. The new legislation extends the Task Force through 2025. Read on to learn more about the Task Force and its duties from a 9/11 attorney. 

Duties of the Original Task Force

The original Task Force was formed to assure that 9/11 first responders and any others who assisted with rescue, recovery, and cleanup operations at Ground Zero would receive appropriate compensation for any disabilities they suffered as a result of their service. The Task Force’s primary duties include: 

  • Obtaining data from various public health agencies regarding the prevalence and incidence of sickness, illness, and disability among workers
  • Assessing the nature, scope, and magnitude of health impacts caused by exposure
  • Measuring the adverse health effects on workers
  • Consulting with various agencies, including the Department of Health, Department of Environmental Conservation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and others
  • Identifying and examining any limitations of existing disability compensation laws with regard to coverage, the extent of disability, the process for determination, adequacy of coverage, and treatment of specific types of disabilities 
  • Receiving and considering reports from individuals, government organizations, community-based organizations, and others to learn more about the diagnosis, care, and treatment of workers
  • Identifying sources of federal funding to aid state and local governments in paying disability benefits

Duties of the Reconstituted Task Force

The 2020 reconstitution legislation incorporates the 2005 legislation’s duties and expands the Task Force’s purview to include: 

  • Average processing times for claims of disability and notices of participation and approval rates
  • Lack of coverage for public employees who assisted with rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations but had not joined a retirement system at the time of such participation
  • Appeals processes for claims within public retirement systems and the court system
  • Opportunities to synchronize various 9/11-related benefit programs at the state and federal levels
  • Methods for identifying all participants in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup operations 

The new legislation requires the Task Force to convene within 90 days of the adjournment of the 2020 regular legislative session and meet on a biannual basis thereafter. Beginning on June 1, 2021, and on June 1 of each year thereafter, the Task Force is required to submit an annual report to the governor addressing the progress it has made in fulfilling its duties and recommending strategies or actions for ongoing monitoring and treatment of affected individuals. The reconstituted Task Force is yet another victory for the 9/11 community and part of the ongoing effort to ensure that the heroes of 9/11 receive the aid they deserve. 

Contact a 9/11 Attorney for More Information about the September 11 Workers Protection Task Force

For more information about the September 11 Workers Protection Task Force or any other advocacy program for those affected by 9/11, please contact a 9/11 attorney at Pitta & Baione by using our online contact form or by calling us at 844-982-2667.