TRENTON – The Senate Labor Committee voted today to advance legislation sponsored by Labor Committee Chair Senator Joseph Lagana and Senate President Nick Scutari that would provide workers’ compensation benefits for certain public safety workers who developed illness, injury, or who died as a result of responding to the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Under the bill, S-1470, these responders would be eligible for benefits under the workers’ compensation law, regardless of when the claim is filed, provided that the worker was treated or monitored through the World Trade Center Health Program established by the Centers for Disease Control.
“On that horrific morning, thousands of first responders came to the rescue of their fellow Americans without hesitation,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen). “We owe it to the heroes of 9/11 to ensure they are duly compensated, no matter how much time has passed since the September 11th attacks. This bill eliminates existing statutes of limitations and paves the way for first responders to receive essential benefits.”
The World Trade Center Health Program provides no-cost medical monitoring and treatment for certified World Trade Center-related health conditions to individuals directly affected by the 9/11 attacks in New York City, the Pentagon, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The program also funds medical research into physical and mental health conditions related to 9/11 exposures.
“The bravery of our public safety workers on September 11th cannot be overstated and should not be forgotten,” added Senate President Scutari (D-Union/Somerset). “Making these funds available without a limit on when workers can make a claim honors their sacrifice and can help improve health outcomes for years to come.”
The bill also requires notification by the State to all active and retired first responders, or if deceased, to notify their next-of-kin at their last known address that these benefits are available within three months of the bill’s passage.
The bill advanced out of the Senate Labor Committee by a 3-0 vote.