To mark the 20th anniversary of September 11, Governor Kathy Hochul signed three pieces of legislation to ensure that all first responders who participated in the rescue, recovery and clean-up of the World Trade Center can access the benefits available to them. . The bills make it easier for WTC first responders to claim WTC benefits, both by expanding the criteria for defining WTC first responders and by allowing online submission of notices that members of a retirement system participated in the rescue, recovery or clean-up of the WTC.

“As we mark the 20th anniversary of a day that touched the lives of every New Yorker, we remember those we lost and pay tribute to those who are with us today who were involved in the rescue. , the recovery and cleaning of the World Trade Center “, Governor Hochul said. “These laws will not only help the first responders who were at the World Trade Center on that terrible day and those who cleaned up the site for weeks afterwards, but also the emergency dispatchers and communications personnel who protect us today. We will make sure they get the support and benefits they deserve.

9/11 legislation to ensure all first responders get the support they need

Expand the criteria to define the first responders who participated in the rescue of the World Trade Center
This legislation (S.4961-B / A.6384-A) broadens the definition of a member who participated in the rescue of the WTC. The term “member” will now include anyone who is currently a member of a public pension system, whether or not the employee participated in the system at that time. The employee must have become a participant in the pension system since that date and have purchased a service credit for part or all of the reference period.

Senator Andrew Gournardes said, “In the hours, days, weeks and months after the towers fell, thousands of officials were dispatched to the World Trade Center to begin the difficult work of rescue, recovery and cleanup. heroic. Today, twenty years later, many are now suffering from illnesses linked to September 11 and, tragically, many have already passed away. While much progress has been made over the years to ensure that these stakeholders receive September 11 disability benefits, a glaring loophole has remained that has made workers who were not part of the pension system ineligible for any assistance. or service. retirement system at a later date can still access the same disability benefits that the heroes they have worked with side by side receive. “

Assembly member Peter Abbate said, “As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I am pleased to see Governor Hochul’s commitment to ensuring that all who have been employed in a qualified service during rescue, recovery and clean-up operations of the World Trade Center will be eligible for the same well-deserved benefits that others have received. “

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said, “This bill is another important step in ensuring that all workers who participated in the rescue, recovery and cleanup of the World Trade Center during and after the 9/11 terrorist attacks will no longer be denied the benefits they ‘themselves and their families have a right. In the midst of the current COVID crisis, it is truly heartbreaking that it has been such a long fight for too many selfless heroes; to have to wait so long for the same respect and the same care they gave to others. In signing this bill, Governor Hochul has shown that she supports our heroes of 9/11 and through many other actions she has shown that she stands for alongside all the workers, who put their well-being at stake. We thank her for her commitment and we thank the member of the Abbate Assembly, Senator Gounardes and the Democratic majorities in the Senate and in the Assembly for their efforts i tireless in favor of our September 11 workers. “

Increase accessibility when requesting WTC benefits
This legislation (S.7009-A / A.6934-A) creates an online option for filing a “WTC Notice of Participation” statement with their retirement system to be eligible for WTC benefits. This bill would allow systems to accept a “WTC Notice of Participation” submitted electronically through an online portal, rather than a written statement.

This bill aims to streamline the WTC notice of attendance filing system by allowing such notices to be electronically filed with a member’s retirement system to ensure that anyone involved in the rescue, recovery and cleaning can avail the benefits of the World Trade Center.

Senator Diane Savino said, “On this grim 20th anniversary of September 11, I thank Governor Kathy Hochul for moving quickly and enacting this important legislation. Allow a member to electronically submit notice of attendance to the WTC via an online portal secure is just a common sense use of technology to streamline obtaining benefits for workers or loved ones of those who answered the call during rescue, recovery and attack response of the World Trade Center. “

Assembly member Peter Abbate said, “I am pleased to sponsor this legislation which will allow electronic submission of a notice of World Trade Center participation in a retirement system. This simplified system is justified and will help ensure faster reporting by eligible people, especially during the COVID pandemic. . I thank Governor Hochul for his support in signing this bill. “

Expand the definition of first responder to include communications officers
This legislation (S.7121 / A.7366-A) defines the term “first responder in communication” and requires employers of these first responders to provide training “to maintain and improve the knowledge, skills and competence of the first responder. communication worker. “This recognizes the 9/11 operators and others in positions as critical as the first responders.

Senator John Brooks said, “Emergency operators and dispatchers in New York are all providing invaluable services to us. It is high time that we remove the existing barriers that prevent these essential emergency workers from providing the full range of support they can give and denying them the benefits they deserve. Without a doubt, all public safety dispatchers, emergency responders, emergency operators, emergency complaints operators and emergency service dispatchers are the first responders, and it is crucial for the safety and well-being of New York State whether recognized as such. As the first responder myself, I am grateful to Governor Hochul for enacting this important legislation. “

Assembly member Peter Abbate said, “I am honored to be the sponsor of this legislation, and I thank Governor Hochul for signing a bill that defines excellence in emergency services and demonstrates New York’s respect for these great public servants. Emergency carriers are the first point of contact for the public in times of crisis and they truly deserve the recognition this bill gives them, and the designated title of “communications first responders”.

Local 1549 administrative staff president Eddie Rodriquez said Local 1549 would like to thank Governor Hochul for signing first responders into the communications bill. His signature signifies that his administration respects and recognizes the dedicated and unparalleled working life of 911 operators. This action sends a very important message that those working under very stressful and traumatic circumstances are recognized, valued and entitled to services that will enable them to do their jobs more efficiently with less turnover. This signing will boost the morale of these workers and recognize them for the heroic work they do. “

Suffolk AME President Daniel C. Levler said, “Emergency operators and dispatchers are undoubtedly the first responders to first responders, serving at the emergency events center, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. These essential workers exercise quick thinking, advice and guidance that frequently makes the critical difference between life and death before help arrives. Most recently, Suffolk 911 operators played a vital role during Tropical Storm Ida, answering 911 calls for parents whose family members in Queens were trapped in their basements. On behalf of our 300 emergency operators in Suffolk County, I thank Governor Hochul for enacting this long overdue legislation and granting these men and women first responder status for the first time. “

President Faye Smith of the Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association, FDNY, said: “We are extremely pleased with the signing of this bill which recognizes the essential and vital work carried out by emergency dispatchers and communications personnel. New York. “

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