Joined: Mar 17, 2005
Location: Staten Island
|Posted: Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:26 pm Post subject: NYC Reps:WTC-Related Comp. Claims Still Under Appeal
From Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:00 am to Fri Jun 16, 2006 2:59 am (included)
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Joe Soldevere (Maloney)
June 14, 2006 (212) 860-0606
NYC Reps: What Does City's Decision
To Drop Appeal of Giuliani Staffer's 9/11 Comp. Claim
Mean for Other Sick, Injured Workers?
-Thousands of WTC-Related Comp. Claims Still Under Appeal by City-
New York, NY - In the wake of the city's decision to drop its appeal of the workers' compensation claim filed by former Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington, nine New York members of Congress today wrote Mayor Bloomberg to express their concern that thousands of other 9/11 related workers' compensation claims remain under appeal by the city. Accordingly, the Reps. urged the Bloomberg administration to give greater attention to valid claims, including otherwise legitimate claims submitted after the filing deadline, that remain unresolved or have been opposed by the city on technical grounds.
"Thousands of people have documented illnesses from 9/11," said Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens). "I'm sure that Rudy Washington's claim is not the only one out there that's valid. I hope that the city will take action and quickly approve other clear-cut claims. Unfortunately, a great many sick and injured 9/11 heroes are still lacking the assistance and health care they need."
"The methodical denial of these claims is another slap at the heroes of 9/11," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler. "Deputy Mayor Washington is fortunate to have the clout to have his case heard - but most of those victimized by WTC toxins are suffering in obscurity. They have been kicked to the curb for too long."
"Nearly five years after 9/11, it's ridiculous that worker compensation claims are still mired in bureaucracy," said Rep. Anthony Weiner. "We must not forget that our brave men and women sacrificed their health to help our City recover from tragedy. It's our solemn duty to help these heroes recover from their illnesses."
"As a nurse, I know that it takes time for toxins to take a toll on a human body. I fear that many of those exposed to toxins on 9/11 may not have realized the extent of their injuries and illness until months or even years after the attacks," said Rep. Carolyn McCarthy. "Each of these workers' compensation claims deserve to be judged by merit, as those with a late diagnosis of 9/11 related injuries and illnesses should not be penalized. "
"This issue, in my opinion, is cut and dry: We must do everything possible to support the heroes of 9/11," said Congressman Josť E. Serrano (D-Bronx). "Officials at every level should work to ensure that everyone who suffered injury on that terrible day is properly treated. Anything less is a failure to honor their heroism. I was glad to join with my colleagues in sending this letter
urging the City to treat Rudy Washington fairly, and I certainly hope that they will promptly resolve this issue."
"Many of the September 11th responders who were exposed to toxic materials, including asbestos, fiberglass, and PCBs, are already very sick, and others may not even exhibit symptoms or sickness for years to come," said Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (D-Westchester, Rockland). "We must ensure that World Trade Center workers get the assistance they need and deserve."
Representatives Eliot Engel, Timothy Bishop and Steve Israel also signed the letter.
The full text of the letter can be found below and at http://maloney.house.gov/documents/911recovery/20060613WorkersComp.pdf.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg,
We are pleased to read media reports that your administration has decided not to appeal the favorable Workers' Compensation Board ruling for former Deputy Mayor Rudy Washington. This should pave the way for Mr. Washington to receive the medical benefits he needs and deserves for his Ground Zero-related illness.
We are sure you are well aware of the medical findings of both the FDNY Medical Monitoring Program and the World Trade Center Medical Monitoring program that continue to find thousands of individuals who are still sick as a direct result of 9/11. As you know, we have been working hard to get help from the federal government to ensure that 9/11 responders can get the medical monitoring and treatment they need and deserve. We are proud of the work we did with you and your administration last year as we fought as a united Congressional delegation to restore $125 million in 9/11 funds that the Bush Administration had sought to rescind. Through this united effort we were able to dedicate $75 million for continued medical monitoring and, for the first time, treatment. In February, this cause took another step forward when we were able to secure the appointment of Dr. John Howard as the federal government's 9/11 health coordinator.
While we are grateful that the city will not appeal Mr. Washington's claim, we are concerned that the city may still be appealing the workers' compensation awards of 290 other city workers who, like Mr. Washington, filed what they believed are valid compensation claims after the passage of the city's two-year deadline. Furthermore, it is our understanding that once the filing deadline had passed, many other injured city workers were persuaded not to even submit otherwise valid claims for injuries sustained during rescue and recovery work.
Additionally, while Corporation Counsel Michael Cardozo recently testified that the city received more than 1,200 9/11-related workers' compensation claims prior to the deadline and approved benefits to more than 95% of those claimants, we continue to receive numerous reports from injured city workers, and from the Unions that represent them, that the city continues to appeal and controvert nearly all of the workers' compensation claims it has received for Ground Zero-related illnesses.
It is our hope that Mr. Washington's case is a signal of how the city plans to respond to Ground Zero claims and is not just an isolated case. We would urge greater attention to the many thousands of valid claims, including legitimate claims submitted after the filing deadline, that remain unresolved or have been opposed by the city on technical grounds.