NY Settles Majority of WTC Workers Comp Claims

March 26, 2003 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The State of New York has settled 85% of death and injury benefit claims filed by families or victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.

A spokesman for the New York state Workers’ Compensation Board said to date 2,062 death claims and 4,108 injury claims of the total 7,224 such claims received since September 11, 2001, have been resolved. However, the overall claim total may continue to increase since the two-year filing window after an accident or realization of an injury has not yet elapsed, according to a Dow Jones report.

The settlement process has been going well, which the spokesman has attributed to the board’s implementation of a new system created after the attack. Under the new system, which almost 2,000 claimants have opted for, affidavits are filled out at home and sent in to the board, forgoing a previously necessary testimony before the board.

Workers in the twin towers and those who responded to the crisis, except for uniformed police and firefighters who have a separate compensation system for on-the-job injuries, have filed claims on burns and injuries, inhalation ailments and scrapes and strains.

By law, e mployers are required to provide workers’ compensation either through a private insurer, self-insurance or the New York State Insurance Fund. The maximum benefit for a disabled worker is based on two-thirds of their average weekly wages up to $400 a week. In a death claim, it is the same amount to the surviving spouse, shared with children up to age 18, or up to age 23 if enrolled in college.

Claims to the state board are separate from the federal victims compensation fund intended as an alternative to the courts for September 11 victims and their survivors.