Gov. Cuomo signs law to help civilians who responded to Ground Zero

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo used  the 18th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks to sign a new law that will help countless civilians who have gotten sick because of their work at Ground Zero.

The law extends disability benefits to men and women who responded to Ground Zero but who were not in uniform.

"They're going to need their health benefits and their pension benefits, and we're not going to leave them alone because they're also American heroes,” said Cuomo.

Cuomo says people like transit employees who helped that day, or engineers who assisted in the cleanup days and weeks later, were also exposed to harmful chemicals.

Many of them have since developed illnesses.

Lawmakers say before this bill, many first responders who were not wearing a police or firefighter uniform were excluded from health and pension coverage.

State Sen. Jim Gaughran, who sponsored the bill, says these people can now apply for 75% disability pay if they're unable to work because of a 9/11-related illness.

The new disability benefits law takes effect immediately.

 

 

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