On September 11, 2023, on the 22nd anniversary of 9/11, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul officially signed the 9/11 Notice Act into law. The act, which received a unanimous vote in the state assembly and senate, amends the General Business Law. Additionally, the overall aim of this vital piece of legislation is to promote widespread awareness of the health risks prompted by the events of that day and provide adequate compensation to both past and current New York City civilian workers who may have been in the exposure zones.
The act also seeks to pinpoint individuals eligible for medical care coverage under one of two different federal programs, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP). It’s important to note that both programs are not limited to only first responders. Compensation will likely be available for construction, cleanup and debris removal volunteers.
“On this solemn day of remembrance, let us not only honor the lives lost on 9/11 but also extend our support to the survivors, their loved ones and our first responders. New York remains committed to honoring the legacy of those lost and providing resources for victims and their loved ones,” stated Governor Hochul, as reported on the official New York State website.
According to updated August statistics, the VCF alone has been notified of roughly 85,000 9/11-related personal injury and death claims requesting compensation, with 45,000 of those requests being submitted by first responders. Additionally, the WTCHP has received a whopping 125,000 individual enrollments in the health program for those still seeking medical coverage for 9/11-related conditions. To further expedite this process, the Justice Department recently appointed Allison Turkel, a lifelong native of New York City and a former prosecutor for Manhattan’s District Attorney’s office, as the special master to the 9/11 VCF.
The act also seeks to pinpoint individuals eligible for medical care coverage under one of two different federal programs, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP)."
“In addition to our heroic first responders, there are many workers, including retail employees, cleanup workers, office workers, building services staff and others who were in the vicinity of the World Trade Center during and after the horrific 9/11 terrorist attacks and who may experience WTC-related illnesses. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund and the World Trade Center Health Program have been a lifeline for many people for two decades, but many others are unaware they may be eligible for these programs. This law will help remedy this by enlisting employers of those who worked in the area on or after 9/11 up until July 31, 2002, to notify each employee of these programs,” stated Senator Brian Kavanagh in response to the recent news.
After suffering in silence for two decades, roughly half a million people who worked, lived or attended school in the Ground Zero zone, which extends from Canal Street to Dumbo, and were exposed to plumes of toxic dust, will receive the compensation they deserve.