Workers' Compensation and Pension Benefits
The WTC service of City employees and its impact on their health is intertwined with the provision of workers’ compensation and pension benefits that many employees—and eventually, retirees—must rely upon when they are injured or retire from City service.
Workers' compensation benefits are available for all injuries or deaths that arise out of and in the course of employment. Eligibility is determined by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) and administered by the City’s Law Department. City employees seeking workers’ compensation should submit claims through their agencies, which in turn transmit the claims to the Law Department for submission to the WCB. The workers’ compensation system is well-equipped to handle typical workplace injuries that are apparent from the moment an accident or other injury-causing event takes place (e.g., when a worker sprains his or her back moving office equipment).
Problems, however, have arisen in the adjudication and administration of 9/11-related claims. State law places the burden on the employee to prove that his or her injury was a result of participating in the WTC recovery and clean-up operations. Because the link between a particular medical condition and WTC exposure is not always definitive, the city has been obligated legally to challenge a high proportion of 9/11-related workers’ compensation claims. Lacking medical evidence employees do not get the benefits they seek.
In general, workers must file claim within two years of the accident. Since 9/11 health-related conditions may not develop for many years, workers and volunteers who participated in WTC rescue and recovery operations can remain eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits if they file a WTC-12 form (PDF) by September 11, 2014. Learn more about the reason for this deadline extension
Uniformed employees from FDNY, NYPD and DSNY, and pedagogical employees from the DOE are NOT eligible for Workers’ Compensation.
How to File a Claim:
City employees who file WTC-12 forms by September 11, 2014 must first submit their claims to their home agency. That agency in turn will transmit the claim to the City Law Department for submission to the New York State Worker’s Compensation Board.
Filing WTC-Related Workers' Compensation Claims: A Step-by-Step Guide for City Employees
For more information about submitting a claim please contact your agency’s Human Resources department.
Line of Duty Injury
Line of Duty Injury (LODI) benefits enable active-duty FDNY, NYPD, DOC and DSNY employees to get free treatment for illnesses and injuries arising out of participation in WTC operations. Once the department’s medical division determines that a uniformed employee’s ailment is work-related, the employee receives free health care services—including physician visits, diagnostic tests, and inpatient care—with no out-of-pocket costs EXCEPT those for prescription drugs which are later reimbursed (uniformed employees receive prescription drug benefits from their unions). LODI benefits end when the uniformed member retires.
More information about LODI benefits, including death benefits, is available from each department’s medical division.
Disability and Death
In 2005, the World Trade Center (WTC) Disability Law took effect in New York State. Amended legislation enacted in 2008 expanded the list of individuals who may be eligible for these benefits. Further amendments in 2013 extended the filing deadline for these benefits, and added worker categories and qualifying conditions.
The WTC Disability law establishes a presumption that certain disabilities for certain New York City employees were caused by rescue, recovery or clean-up operations at the WTC and entitle the employee to accidental disability retirement benefits (unless evidence proves otherwise) if the person:
- Worked at a WTC site (see below) at least 40 hours during the period beginning on September 11, 2001 and ending on September 12, 2002 (or was unable to work 40 hours due to a physical injury incurred during WTC-related work on September 11 or September 12, 2001) OR
- Worked at Ground Zero during the first 48 hours after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001
- Has developed, or develops in the future, certain physical and mental conditions
The law covers the following individuals who responded to the collapse of the WTC:
- Uniformed members of NYPD, FDNY, DSNY and DOC and
- Other civilian employees including EMS workers, 911 dispatchers and supervisors, emergency vehicle radio repair mechanics, vested members of a public pension system who stopped working before filing a claim, and workers who became disabled more than two years after the WTC disaster but before the Workers' Compensation Law was extended.
Civilian employees who did not have a pre-employment physical can apply for a disability pension by providing medical records that show no pre-existing condition before 9/11. Death benefit legislation, enacted in 2006, provides an accidental death benefit to city employees within this same eligibility group.
The bill allows police officers, firefighters, and other civilian employees hired before July 26, 1976 who retired for non-WTC accidental disability to have their retirement reclassified as accidental disability related to the WTC disaster.
New York State law requires that both active and retired city employees file a statement indicating the dates and locations of employment with their retirement system by September 11, 2014 to be eligible for these benefits.
Verification of service at a WTC site during the period indicated varies according to the pension system. Independent medical boards (each pension system has its own medical board) review the applications initially, and report to the Boards of Trustees. If a disability is found, the pension system’s Board of Trustees makes a final decision on the application.
Only 911 operators and supervisors who worked within the first 24 hours after the first plane hit the towers are eligible for WTC-related benefits. In addition, 911 operators and supervisors may only apply for benefits based on the qualifying psychological conditions indicated below.
For more information about the law, including amendments passed in 2013, please contact the appropriate retirement system below or your local union representative:
NYC Employees’ Retirement System
335 Adams Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
347-643-3000 (NYC residents)
877-669-2377 (toll-free outside of NYC)
New York Fire Department Pension Fund
9 Metrotech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Police Pension Fund
233 Broadway, 18th floor
New York, NY 10007
Teachers’ Retirement System
55 Water Street
New York, NY 10041
Board of Education Retirement System
65 Court Street, 18th floor
Brooklyn, NY 11202