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Employee denied 9/11-related workers’€™ comp benefits

A panel at the New York Workers’ Compensation Board has decided to deny the workers’ compensation claim for an assistant vice president present at ground zero on 9/11.  The panel ruled that the employee’s actions did not involve “rescue, recovery, or cleanup operations” as the terms were intended in the 9/11 bill.

 

The assistant vice president made the following claims in her request for benefits:

  • Rescue actions: gave bank workers directions to New Jersey (rescue actions should involve aiding injured, distressed, or trapped workers)
  • Recovery actions: recovered her work laptop from the site (recovery is intended to mean recovery of injured persons or human remains, not inanimate objects)
  • Cleanup actions: cleaned her apartment to use it as a temporary work location (cleaning her apartment to work at home is not considered an act covered in the workers’ comp amendment)

 

The assistant vice-president’s claim for benefits due to a post-traumatic stress disorder suffered while volunteering at ground zero was ultimately denied.  The employee received confidential counseling that by definition was not reported to the employer, however it was fully paid for by the employer’s in-house counselor.

 

Lastly, the panel found that a workers’ comp claim related to 9/11 must fall into a covered category of activity as defined in the law to be eligible for an extended filing date.  Claims must also meet the definition of activity intended by the law to be reopened after being denied for untimeliness.

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