Trenton – Legislation sponsored by Senator Nicholas P. Scutari and Senator Joseph Lagana, which would provide accidental disability retirement allowance for a permanent or total disability for 9/11 first responders, passed the Senate today.
“Many brave individuals put their lives at risk to help save the lives of fellow Americans and to assist in the recovery and cleanup efforts during the most vulnerable moment in the countries’ recent history,” said Senator Scutari (D-Middlesex/Somerset/Union). “Many of these brave men and women are suffering, and many have passed away, from serious illnesses such as cancer and respiratory illness traced back to their efforts at Ground Zero. This legislation would provide much needed financial support for these individuals whose lives were changed from heroically putting their country first on 9/11.”
Under the bill, S-3474, a Police and Fireman’s Retirement System member, a State Police Retirement System member and certain members of the Public Employees’ Retirement System with a permanent or total disability resulting from their volunteer work at the 9/11 World Trade Center rescue, recovery or cleanup operations for a minimum of eight-hours would be eligible for the allowance.
“The New Jerseyans that displayed heroism in the efforts during the aftermath of 9/11 should be entitled to receive the increased benefit of accidental disability,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen/Passaic). “Unfortunately, when they risked their lives and put them on hold to help New York City and America recover, they were unaware of future medical issues that would arise. Receiving these benefits would greatly help these heroes.”
The bill would permit a member who did not meet the eight-hour minimum to be eligible if the member participated in the operations between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2001, or if the member sustained a documented qualifying physical injury, impairment or disability between September 11, 2001 and September 12, 2001 that prevented the completion of eight-hours of work.
The bill was released by the Senate with a vote of 36-0.