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Help for Ground Zero area workers – QNS.com

Help for Ground Zero area workers

The death of Cesar Borja Sr., who was not a first responder but worked in the area, and his son’s ensuing fight to advocate for all those who worked at or near Ground Zero following the September 11 terrorist attacks, has galvanized many Queens politicians to action.
On his weekly cable television show, Senator Serphin Maltese and his guest Carmen Calderon, a Safety and Health Specialist with the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), discussed the change to the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law that covers workers and volunteers who are not sick, but who may become sick in the future, as well as the critical need for these workers to register in order to protect their rights.
Maltese informed his audience that the deadline for registration is August 14.
Anyone who does not register before the deadline will not be eligible for lost wage benefits or free medical care provided by Workers’ Compensation, according to Maltese.
“To date, only 4,000 have registered, though it is estimated that more than 100,000 people are eligible,” said Councilmember Helen Sears, who is also urging people to register.
Claim forms are available at www.nycosh.org in English and Spanish. Those with questions about eligibility requirements can call NYCOSH toll free at 1-866-WTC-2556.
City Comptroller William Thompson Jr. echoed the Councilmembers’ sentiments and said that New York City retirees have received information about the Mount Sinai World Trade Center (WTC) Medical Monitoring and Treatment Program and the WTC Environmental Health Center at Bellevue Hospital.
Information about the free programs, funded by the New York City Mayor’s initiative and the American Red Cross Liberty Disaster Relief Fund, was included with checks sent to 82,000 retirees of the five New York City Pension Systems.
The information - contained in what is called a “Checkmate” insert, which can be viewed at www.comptroller.nyc.gov - details a groundbreaking report by Mt. Sinai Medical Center about ongoing physical health problems encountered by rescue, recovery and clean-up workers who responded to Ground Zero.
“Since responders’ health problems have not gone away since 9/11, ongoing monitoring is very important,” the insert reads. “Some diseases, like cancer, can take decades to develop, so long-term monitoring is critical. … Ongoing monitoring can ensure that new health problems are caught early, when treatment is most effective.”

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