DEADLINE: 9/11 First Responders Urged To Register For Compensations

911 First Responders Urged To Register For CompensationsDEADLINE: 9/11 First Responders Urged To Register For Compensations


Weeks after its defeat in the House of Representatives, members of Congress are still vowing to bring the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act up for another vote this fall.

But advocates say without guarantees it will pass a second time around, it makes an upcoming state compensation deadline for workers who have become ill or may become ill as a result of 9/11 exposure even more urgent. NY1 Health & Fitness reporter Kafi Drexel filed the following report.

Workers interested in learning more about eligibility requirements are encouraged to go to or call 1-866-WTC-2556.

Registering now will preserve your right to file a workers’ compensation claim for a 9/11-related disorder — no matter when it develops in the future.

Alex Sanchez cleared out air vents in Lower Manhattan for six straight months after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Now, he's on 14 medications a day.

He suffers from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), post traumatic stress, asthma, and has developed nodules in his lungs. Most days he can barely muster the energy to tussle with nine-year-old son Jack.

“I wanted my son to be the next Kaka and this is dreams every parent has. But if you can't go out there and toss a ball with your son it makes, it very hard,” says Sanchez.

Sanchez, who's gone from cleanup worker to advocate, says he wouldn't be able to survive without qualifying for permanent disability compensation from the state.

Anyone who worked or volunteered performing rescue, recovery or cleanup faces a September 11, 2010 deadline to register for future worker's compensation benefits if they are sick or become sick as a result of 9/11 exposure.

He is one of many workers encouraging others to sign up now.

“If you miss the registry now, that's it,” says Sanchez. “There's no more tomorrow for you. The only way to take care of our future is by registering today.”

But while about 100,000 volunteers and workers are eligible to sign up, less than half have done so. That's a huge concern for Joel Shufro of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health, an organization that works with the state compensation board to register workers. One of the biggest roadblocks – symptoms still haven't surfaced for many workers.

“You don't have to experience symptoms to file for this,” says Shufro. “You may never use it. We are seeing so many workers now developing symptoms and some are getting worse. So this is a very protective measure, safety net, so people who do get sick in the future will have protection.”