Message from DEA Disability Attorneys Re: COVID-19 and WTC-Related Disability and Death Benefits
The following was recently distributed to the membership of the NYPD Detectives Endowment Association:
Many of our members, both active and retired, are at heightened risk of suffering severe complications or death from COVID-19 due to underlying medical conditions related to their World Trade Center exposure, including respiratory disorders and compromised immune systems from cancer. Consequently, we believe that Retired Members may be eligible for reclassification of their pensions in the event they suffer from permanently disabling effects of the virus. We also believe that the surviving spouses, children, and parents of those who die of COVID-19 may be eligible for Line-of-Duty Death benefits under the World Trade Center bill.
In addition to showing disability or death due to COVID-19, we would likely need to establish the presence of the underlying WTC condition (with medical records or certification by the WTC Health Program), as well as fulfill other statutory requirements (a Notice of Participation must be filed with the NYC Police Pension Fund, and we must be able to verify the member’s participation in WTC rescue, recovery and clean-up operations).
We are hopeful that the NYS Legislature will pass a new presumptive bill qualifying active members to benefits due to COVID-19. However, the World Trade Center bill may protect those members, both active and retirees, that were active in 2001. Please keep yourselves, your families, and your coworkers safe. If you have any questions regarding the disability process or eligibility for World Trade Center benefits, please reach out to our disability attorneys at (212) 766-5800, or see their website, www.nycdisabilitylaw.com, which is regularly updated.