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State Bill Expands Pool of Possible 9/11 Benefit Recipients

Even as New York City battles thousands of ground zero workers over their health claims in federal court, New York State is making more workers eligible for health care benefits.

The State Legislature has passed a bill that will make hundreds of public service workers who labored at the World Trade Center site during the nine-month cleanup after the attacks of Sept. 11 eligible for state disability payments.

Aides to Gov. David A. Paterson said on Wednesday that as many as 1,800 such workers who had already been denied disability benefits could now be eligible to receive them.

The measure, passed Monday, also extends the deadline for other ground zero workers to register for state workers’ compensation in case they become sick or disabled in the future as a result of their work at ground zero.

Governor Paterson, who strongly supported the legislation, is expected to sign it shortly.