WTC Death Benefits BillOn August 14th Governor Pataki signed into law bills aimed at covering the health costs and pensions of 9/11 responders. Surviving beneficiaries of Firefighters who die from a 9/11 related disease will now receive full line-of-duty death benefits even if the member is already retired (100% of the deceased's last salary plus health benefits). If the survivor is a spouse, the benefit is paid until the spouse dies; if it is a child, benefits continue until the child reaches 18. Governor Pataki also signed a bill clarifying the WTC Presumptive Disability Bill that was signed in June of 2005. The original intent of that bill was to allow Firefighters who are retired from service or from ordinary disability to reapply at any time for Accidental Disability if he/she develops a WTC- related disease.
The language of the original bill was ambiguous regarding the 2-year period following the signing of the bill. It is now clear that retired Firefighters have to file a 'Notice of Participation in the World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery or Clean-Up Operations Form' to qualify for the WTC Presumptive Disability Bill. The 'WTC Disability Applications' and also the 'Notice of Participation Forms' are both available on the Homepage of the UFA Web site at:www.ufanyc.org All Firefighters are reminded that they must file a sworn 'Notice of Participation Form' by June 14, 2007, or they will not be eligible for any of these benefits should they develop one of the qualifying conditions. See your company delegate for preparation instructions. The Governor said his decision "was not about numbers - it was about doing what is the right thing." We applaud this decision and the Governor's continued support on issues concerning New York's Bravest.
Stephen J. Cassidy
Joseph A. Miccio