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The New York Disability Law Blog

Information and Help for Disabled Individuals with Workers' Compensation, Social Security Disability and Construction Accident Claims

We Will Never Forget September 11th, 2001

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Never Forget, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, 9/11 Zadroga Act, World Trade Center Health Program, WTC Cancer, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims

Remember 9_11_2001

The attorneys at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco will never forget 9/11.

We continue to fight every day for health care and compensation for 9/11 responders and survivors. Thankfully, the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act was passed last year which guarantees health care and compensation for years to come, especially to those with 9/11 related cancers.

Please take a moment today to remember all those who lost their lives on 9/11 and all those who continue to fight 9/11 illnesses today. God Bless.

Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Re-opens for New Claims

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, WTC Cancer, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims


The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) re-opened yesterday and is accepting new claims after a seven month hiatus. The temporary closure for new claims was necessary to comply with the new James Zadroga Reauthorization Act passed last December. The Fund is now up and running at full speed. All those with new 9/11 illnesses diagnosed since last December, or those who did not complete there claim application prior to December last year, can now file claims through a  9/11 Victim Fund attorney or directly through the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund website.

There are several important things you should know about filing a claim under the new Zadroga 9/11 Reauthorization Act:

  • there is a new 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund 16 page claim form  which must be used. This single form replaces two prior forms which were used to determine “eligibility” and “compensation” in different steps.  The single claim form will relieve claimant’s from having to potentially appeal claims twice;
  • the  VCF will not begin reviewing any new claim until the application is fully complete (including any any supplementary information required in the separate appendix questions). Essentially, Fund claim attorneys and staff want to review completed applications once “soup to nuts” and not in a piecemeal process. This should streamline and quicken the pace of award determinations in the future;
  • the VCF will prioritize claims for victims who are determined by the Special Master to be suffering from the most disabling physical conditions;
  • non-economic (pain and suffering) damages for 9/11 related covered cancers will be capped at $250,000;
  • non-economic damages for non-cancer 9/11 related conditions are capped at $90,000;
  • there no longer are “minimum awards”.  Previously, the minimum award amount was $10,000. This means that certain claimants with certain conditions may receive no compensation award despite having a 9/11 related illness. (Note: you should speak to a 9/11 attorney if you think you may fit into the “zero award” category. Many times, these “zero awards” may be caused by “collateral offsets”);
  • for purposes of calculating economic loss, caps Annual Gross Income (“AGI”) at $200,000 for each year of loss. This may lower awards for claimant’s earning substantially more than $200,000 per year if their 9/11 illness causes a loss of income or benefits.

If you have questions about the “New 9/11 Victim Compensation Claim Form” , a 9/11 cancer compensation claim or  your previously filed claim given the reopening of the VCF, call one of our 9/11 attorneys  at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636).

Turley Hansen 9/11 Attorney Interviewed by WorkCompCentral for Zadroga Act Cancer Article

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 VCF Registration, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, 9/11 Zadroga Act, World Trade Center Health Program, WTC Cancer, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims


WorkCompCentral, the leading online publication for news and analysis regarding injured workers, interviewed Turley Hansen partner Troy Rosasco last week to discuss the milestone of $1.52 billion paid out to first responders and other victims of the September 11th terrorist attacks from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

Rosasco said one of the biggest problems 9/11 cancer victims face is missing the strict deadlines to register eligible cancers with the Victim Compensation Fund. At least once a week Turley Hansen has to tell a 9/11 cancer victim or family member that they have missed the strict deadlines. Rosasco says it is “heartbreaking”.

Anyone diagnosed with what they believe is a 9/11 cancer must register with the Victim Compensation Fund within two years of diagnosis, but no later than December 18, 2020.  Click here to register today with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.  Do not delay. You can always choose to hire a 9/11 attorney after you register, but the most important thing is to register so you do not miss the strict deadlines.  If you have questions about 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund registration, eligibility or benefit amounts, feel free to call our office at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636).

Turley Hansen & Partners has represented more than 1000 first responders, volunteers or residents of lower Manhattan before the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. To date, they have collected over $60 million in cash awards for their clients. See a list of the most common 9/11 related cancers here.

In addition, they have helped many of their clients file for benefits with the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) which provides free healthcare across the country for eligible individuals who lived or worked in the vicinity of Ground Zero, and were exposed to the toxic stew that engulfed the area for months. See a list here of all covered cancers treated by the World Trade Center Health Program.

As for the passage of the Zadroga Reauthorization Act, Rosasco praised Congress:

The citizens of the United States can be very proud of the way their government has acted with both compassion and thoroughness in taking care of [9/11] heroes who risked theoir lives for others. With all the criticisms of Congress and Washington that we here these days, this is one Act that Congress can be very proud of.


9/11 WTC Compensation Fund to Issue New Zadroga Act Regulations Next Week

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Health Registry, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, 9/11 Zadroga Act, WTC Cancer, WTC Compensation Fund, WTC Health Program, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims


The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund will issue an important new Final Rule on June 15, 2016 which will help clarify new procedures for filing claims under the James Zadroga Reauthorization Act.

Since the Zadroga Act was reauthorized, 9/11 WTC lawyers like Turley Hansen have not been able to file new claims while we awaited these new regulations and new claim forms.

In addition, the 9/11 VCF will begin making new Group B (claimants with loss determination awards dated after 12/17/15) award decisions by the end of June on a rolling basis.  This will be great news for the many 9/11  responders and victims who did not fit into the Group A category (VCF award determinations 12/17/15 or before).  Many of them have been waiting many years for their compensation awards and light is now at the end of the tunnel.

For Group B loss decisions that begin being issued in late June, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund expects to begin authorizing payments to claimants by the end of August.

The WTC Compensation Fund expects that a that a small percentage of Group B claim loss decisions will be monetarily smaller than Group A claims for the same conditions.  The rational behind this should become more clear after the new Rule is issued on June 15th.  We will post the new rule as soon as it becomes available on our 9/11 Zadroga Act Info site, zadrogaclaimsinfo.com and on our Zadroga Act Cancer Info Facebook page.

Important: Remember that you must “Register” with the Victim Compensation Fund within certain deadlines depending on your 9/11 related diagnosis. Unfortunately, every day we are hearing from more 9/11 responders and downtown Manhattan residents who have  succumbed to 9/11 WTC  cancers and other illnesses. You only have two (2) years to register your claim with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund if you have a 9/11 related cancer. See the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund registration deadline chart here.

For example, if you were diagnosed with 9/11 related lung cancer on August 1, 2014, you only have until August 1, 2016 to “register” your claim with the VCF.  Missed registration deadlines are some of the saddest situations we must deal with when we speak to clients each day. If you have a question on 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Registration Deadlines, call us today at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636).

We will have more information for you on this important new Zadroga Act Rule when it is issued by the WTC Compensation Fund on June 15th. Until then, have a nice weekend and stay healthy.



Important New WTC Status Report from 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, 9/11 Zadroga Act, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims


9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) Special Master Sheila Birnbaum issued an important new report this week on the status of claims processing for first responders and other victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. See the key dates on the 911 Zadroga Act Reauthorization Timeline here. The Special Master highlighted the fact that the Fund has now paid out over $1 billion in the last five years, including many WTC 9/11 cancer claims. It is clear that the Victim Compensation Fund has ironed out almost all the kinks the fund had initially, and victims are now receiving timely loss determination awards. See the Special Master’s May 2016 9/11 Claim Status Report here.

The following are some important accomplishments and milestones passed by the VCF since the Reauthorization:

Group A Claims

  • Authorized full payments for expedited claims that do not have any issues preventing payment;
  • Authorized full payments for claimants who previously received a 10% payment and do not have any issues preventing payment;
  • Authorized 100% payments for claimants who have never received a VCF payment and do not have any issues preventing payment;
  • Authorized payments for claimants who previously received a loss determination letter that included a notice of missing information;
  • Group A payments completed (VCF activity complete) Department of Justice (DOJ) and Treasury Department finish processing Group A payments.

Group B Claims

  • Reviewed Group B claims received prior to December 18, 2015 for completeness from oldest to most recent; sent Missing Information letters as needed; received and reviewed responses to missing information requests; calculated preliminary loss based on draft regulations; Public comment period ends Release sample new hard copy forms Complete Government review; publish Interim Final Rule effective June 15 and begin public comment period.
  • Defined updated policies and procedures;
  • Drafted updated regulations (including required updates to loss calculation methodology);
  • Initiated official rule-making process – requires review and approval of regulations by various Government offices.

The new 9/11 VCF Message from Special Master Sheila Birnbaum clearly shows the impressive job the VCF is currently doing. I know many of you are  still waiting patiently to receive your the financial awards you deserve. However, assuming you or your attorney have submitted all the information required for the VCF to make a loss determination in your case, you should be seeing light at the end of the tunnel shortly.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us for a Free Claim Evaluation at 1-855-WTC-INFO (1-855-982-4636). Have a great Memorial Day weekend!


9/11 Firefighter Widow Wins $3 Million WTC Pension after Nine Year Court Fight

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, 9/11 Zadroga Act, Death Benefits, Disability Pensions, Firm News & Events, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims

9_11 Firefighter

The New York Post has a great article today on the Court decision giving the widow of a hero 9/11 firefighter a $3 Million dollar WTC pension payout “The word ‘no’ is not in my vocabulary,”  the widow, Jackie Kaht Fernandez, 53, told The Post. What makes this story so sad is that the widow could have received the 9/11 WTC death benefits much sooner had the New York City Fire Department simply followed the World Trade Center Presumption Law. Way to go Jackie for not giving up! 

Instead, Supreme Court Justice Richard Velasquez excoriated the NYC Pension Board for “shocking and unconscionable” behavior and acting in “bad faith” in his decision.  The Pension Board had essentially ignored two prior court decisions overturning decisions of the Pension Medical Board which decides 9/11 WTC related cases. The decision noted:

“Her late husband, Lt. Cruz Fernandez, died suddenly on July 14, 2006 of a 9/11 related medical condition.  Lt. Fernandez was a “First Responder” who worked at Ground Zero from September 11, 2001 through the next 25 days, sometimes as often as 15 hours per day. Prior to his untimely death at age 52, Lt Fernandez had completed nine marathons”.

The NYC Fire Department Pension Board is required to use the 9/11 WTC Presumption. As the Court stated:

Once an applicant establishes that the 9/11 hero worked the requisite number of hours at Ground Zero, the “World Trade Center Presumption” places the burden on the New York City Fire Department Pension Board to show that the applicant’s qualifying injury was not incurred in the line of duty.

The 9/11 WTC presumption is not only important in the Fernandez firefighter pension case, but it is equally important in 9/11 WTC cancer cases. After all, how is a disabled 9/11 hero supposed to prove that 9/11 related cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma, kidney cancer, lung cancer, mesothelioma, prostate cancer, melanoma cancer of the skin, colon cancer or bladder cancer?.

Congrats also to our partner, NYC Pension Attorney Chet Lukaszewski, who battled the City and overcame every legal hurdle thrown his client’s way.

Happy Holidays from the Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at Turley, Redmond, Rosasco and Rosasco

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, NY Workers Compensation Claims, Social Security Disability, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims

Merry Christmas Turley Redmond Rosasco Disability Lawyers

All the attorneys and staff of Turley, Redmond, Rosasco & Rosasco, LLP wish our clients and friends “Peace on Earth and Good Will to Men” during the Holiday Season!

Please celebrate with us the recent passage of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

Please mourn with us all workers and their families who lost loved ones on the job in the past year.

Please pray with us that 2016 brings good health and greater safety to all workers.

See you in the New Year!

A Time to Be Grateful – Remember 9/11 Hero Diane DiGiacomo

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Zadroga Act, Death Benefits, Health Info, NY Workers Compensation Claims, Uncategorized, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims

Diane_ DiGiacomo_9_11_cancer_victim

As Thanksgiving 2015 approaches, some may wonder what we should be grateful for as our world copes with the barbaric actions of ISIS and other radical Islamic terrorist groups.

However, the death from cancer last week of Diane DiGiacomo, an ASPCA  special investigator who helped rescue animals around Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks, reminds us that those of us who are not victims of workplace illnesses and death indeed have much to be grateful for. Rest in peace Diane.

Just a week before the 54 year old DiGiacomo died of the multiple cancers that ravaged her body, a New York State Workers’ Compensation Board Judge denied DiGiacomo’s claim for 9/11 cancer.  While I have not yet seen the actual decision, Ms. DiGiacomo’s workers’ compensation lawyer publicly blasted the judge calling the decision “outrageous”.

With Paris burning and the re-authorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 law to protect  first responder cancer victims pending according to new House Speaker Paul Ryan,  Diane’s death brings the issue of workers’ compensation benefits for terrorism related first responders right to our professional and personal doorsteps.  The pictures in the newspaper of Diane just prior to her death are heart wrenching.

But Diane’s was not the first death of an injured worker in 2015.  Our office has handled other work related death claims this year that were never publicized, but were just as devastating to the families. Earlier this year, I handled a claim for a worker who is now a quadriplegic due to a tragic on-the-job related injury.  All workers’ compensation attorneys across the country are on the front lines seeing these tragedies almost every day.

In 2014, according to OSHA, fatal work related accidents and illnesses totaled 4,679, or almost 13 workers lives per day.  This was up from 4,585 in 2013.

So if you are looking for something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, please take a moment to reflect on the fact that you were not among the thousands who lost their lives so far in 2015 for no other reason than going to work.






New 9/11 Cancer Information Website provided by Zadroga Act Lawyers Turley Hansen and Partners

Posted in 9/11 Cancer Claim, 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, 9/11 Zadroga Act, NY Workers Compensation Claims, Zadroga 9/11 Compensation Fund Claims


Turley, Hansen & Partners is pleased to announce “9/11 Cancer Compensation Claims Info”, a new online informational resource  for those who have been diagnosed with 9/11 related cancers.  The website will provide the information needed to file a cancer claim with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) and whether someone is eligible, according to Partner Troy Rosasco.

The site was previously called “Zadroga 9/11 Claims Info” and was originally launched in 2011 soon after the passage of the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act of 2010.  Initially, claims for 9/11 related cancers were not covered under the law.  The site was renamed since the vast majority of new claims are being filed by those diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer.

The 9/11 Cancer Compensation Claims Info website has a special FAQ’s (Frequently Asked Questions) section dedicated solely to addressing cancer claims from police officers, firefighters, first responders, volunteers and others who were sickened by the airborne toxins from Ground Zero. The section explains to the site’s visitors which 9/11-related cancers are eligible for treatment and compensation, where they can receive medical care, how much money they can expect to receive from the VCF, and whether they are eligible for funds from the VCF.

The site also explains the most common types of 9/11 cancer, the type of medical care offered through the World Trade Center Health Program, claims procedures and filing deadlines. In addition, the site is updated regularly with news, information and analysis on the current fight in Congress to extend the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.

On October 12, 2012, the WTC Health Program added certain cancers to the List of WTC-Related Health Conditions.  The list was updated on October 21, 2013  with the addition of Prostate Cancer. On February 18, 2014  the definition of Rare Cancers was revised and examples of certain Rare Cancers meeting the definition were added.  See the current list of covered 9/11 related cancers here.

However, a cancer on the list of WTC-related health conditions does not necessarily mean that a cancer in an individual WTC responder or survivor will be determined to be WTC-related.  Each WTC responder and survivor enrolled in the Program will go through a physician’s determination and “Program certification” process to assess whether their individual cancer meets the statutory definition of a WTC-related health condition.

The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF), which is a separate agency from the World Trade Center Heath Program, determines financial awards for claimants with 9/11 cancers. The VCF will accept cancers that are certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program. Individuals who have been diagnosed with one of the specified cancers are eligible for compensation from the VCF provided the cancer is certified for treatment by the WTC Health Program and provided the claimant meets the VCF’s other eligibility criteria. You do not have to participate in the WTC Health Program in order to submit your claim to the VCF.

If you are being treated by another program or by another physician for a covered cancer, the VCF will provide you with specific forms and instructions to use to obtain information from that physician and will then seek guidance from the WTC Health Program as to whether your condition meets the standards adopted for certification.

“Unfortunately, 9/11 first responders, workers, volunteers and downtown residents are calling our office every day after being diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer,” Partner Daniel Hansen said. “With the recent expiration of the Zadroga Act — putting in jeopardy future health benefits (with funding running out by early next year) — these claimants need more information and guidance than ever. We hope this new informational website can give them a starting point to find answers to their questions.”


Walmart and McDonald’s Want to “Deform” Workers’ Comp and “Re-engineer Social Justice”

Posted in Health Info, Labor News, NY Workers Compensation Claims, Uncategorized

Last March the New York Disability Law Blog posted on the the “Demolition of Workers’ Comp”, an excellent piece of investigative journalism co-produced by NPR and ProPublica. At that time, we highlighted that employer workers’ compensation costs were at a 25 year low.  Despite employers paying less for workers’ comp, they still did awful things like deny an injured worker a prosthetic hand for the real one he lost on the job.  Instead, the employer offered him a metal hook!  I kid you not.

Now comes the second installment entitled “Inside Corporate America’s Campaign to Ditch Workers’ Comp” and the plight of injured workers seems bleaker than just six months ago.

A shrewd Texas corporate lawyer by the name of Bill Minick proudly proclaims “We’re talking about re-engineering one of the pillars of social justice…”(i.e.,Workers’ Compensation).  Mess with the “pillars of social justice”?! 

Really Bill? You may be the son of an evangelist, but you are not God!  

There is nothing wrong with trying to reduce employer workers’ comp costs (even if it at a 25 year low). There is nothing wrong with promoting employee safety and appropriate return to work. There is nothing wrong with eliminating both employer and employee fraud.  There is nothing wrong with elimination of inefficiencies in the system. Workers’ comp can always be improved.

But only a crazed zealot would attempt to tear down “one of the pillars of social justice” while making it all sound reasonable to legislatures and the public at large.  One need only look to recent history  to recognize the permanent harm crazed zealots can do. One need only look at the horrors workers’ comp “deform” has produced for injured workers so far.   Beware!

After reading the the almost inconceivable, anti-worker provisions in the “Opt-out workers’ compensation plans” Minick, Walmart and McDonald’s propose, one can only conclude that states such as Texas and Oklahoma are travelling backwards to the days of “robber barons” exploiting injured workers to gorge on ever increasing profits.  These are the types of abuses that the original workers’ compensation laws and “pillars of social justice” seeks to abolish.

Historic workplace tragedies such as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire and more recently, 9/11  are not forgotten.  Workplace shootings seem to be almost daily occurrences in the nightly news. Progressive workers’ compensation laws, first proposed by Theodore Roosevelt, still serve the remedial and humanitarian goals of protecting the economic interests of both workers and employers.

Thankfully, Congress is watching. See the below letter from prominent members of Congress who are watching this issue closely.

Congress Letter to DOL re workers comp oversight 10-20-15 (2)