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You Shouldn't Have To Fight For Workers' Comp Benefits

Some Pennsylvania 9/11 responders seek illness compensation

The United States marks another anniversary of the horrible 9/11 terror attack today. It was on this day in 2001 that terrorist-hijacked airliners piled into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. United Airlines Flight 93 crashed into a Pennsylvania field after passengers fought to reclaim control of the plane.

Thousands were killed immediately as a result of the attacks. Tens of thousands of emergency responders endured days, weeks and sometimes months of exposure to hazardous conditions at the various crash sites in the aftermath. As a result of the risks they took, Congress created a special multibillion-dollar fund to compensate workers who have contracted illnesses as a result of their efforts. 

It's not clear why it should be happening now, but on this anniversary the focus of at least one news story is about the fact that 25 people who responded to the Flight 93 crash in Shanksville and 66 people who helped at the Pentagon site have filed claims against the fund.

The story makes note of the fact that the number of claims is nothing compared to the more than 24,000 that have been filed by those who worked at the New York's ground zero. But the story also notes that the non-New York responders never faced the same hazards and questions whether the claimants aren't just trying to take advantage of the system.

Legal observers question the value of such speculation. They note that Congress made it possible for the claims to be filed. They also note that claims will only be approved if claimants have doctor certification that their condition was either caused, or made worse, by hazards faced during the 9/11 response.

It is the right of every worker to be duly compensated for any injury or illness suffered on the job, and they have the right to seek that compensation from any legitimate source that may be available.

Source: Philly.com, "9/11 responders outside N.Y. seek compensation," David B. Caruso, Associated Press, Sept. 9, 2013

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