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September 25, 2009

9-11 Workers Compensation - Report on 45,000 World Trade Center Cases

In September, the New York State Workers' Compensation Board released a 59-page report on World Trade Center Cases in the New York Workers’ Compensation System (PDF), along with a reminder that the clock is ticking for rescue and clean-up workers to register service. The registration deadline is September 11, 2010. Registering puts a stake in the ground to preserve the right to benefits should they be needed at a future time.

The data is a significant historical record and analysis of the largest single workers compensation event in insurance history. Report findings are limited to claims covered under the New York State Workers’ Compensation Law so do not include police, fire, or sanitation workers, federal employees, out-of-state employees, and people who were not working.

For a sample of the report, here is an executive summary of the 9-11 Workers Comp report taken from a press release issued with the study:

Among All Cases The Board has 13,676 workers' compensation cases resulting from the World Trade Center disaster. This study focuses on the 11,627 cases where there is comprehensive claim data. More than half the cases were for victims of the attacks, and about 40 percent were for rescue, recovery and clean-up workers. In 5,220 cases, the Board received an initial filing but no medical evidence supporting the claim, or the worker did not pursue the claim (by filing information or attending a hearing). The Board is actively contacting those workers, to determine why they did not pursue their claims. Carriers disputed 40 percent of World Trade Center cases, more than twice the rate of other claims. Three-quarters of all cases were filed before 2004. Only 4 percent of cases have open issues.

Death Cases
There are 2,064 death claims; 2,058 were for people killed in the attacks. The Board has just three death cases for rescue, recovery and clean-up workers. There were three other fatalities, as well. Fifty-two domestic partners of victims received a death benefit, under special provisions of a 2002 law.

Rescue, Recovery and Clean-up Cases
In 4,670 claims, rescue, recovery and clean-up workers received benefits. Nearly 90 percent of these cases are for respiratory system diseases. The Board has received 39,151 WTC-12 forms since 2006. On a WTC-12, the filer states he or she performed rescue, recovery and clean-up efforts for the World Trade Center, in an area south of Canal St.; at Fresh Kills Landfill; on the barges, the piers, and at the morgues. While not a claim, it preserves the right to future benefits, should one ever need them. Gov. Paterson signed legislation last year extending the deadline to Sept. 11, 2010, for World Trade Center workers and volunteers to file a WTC-12. Since beginning a national publicity campaign in June 2008, the rate of filings has increased more than tenfold.

Posted by Julie Ferguson at 7:42 AM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post
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