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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

High Court Increases Disability Benefits of 9/11 Attack Police

In a recent ruling, the New York high court has ruled in favor of the three city police officers who were dispatched at the area of the September 11 terrorist attack and were diagnosed with cancer thereafter.

In the said ruling, New York’s court of appeals found that the police officers were entitled to a federal disability benefit as imposed under a 2005 law known as the “World Trade Center presumption.”

The said ruling was awarded to the family of the three police officers who died of cancer after taking part in rescue efforts during the 9/11 attack. The ruling came amid strong opposition from the New York Police Department (NYPD) claiming that the cops’ illnesses were caused by their pre-existing conditions.

As previously reported, court documents revealed that Officer Karen Bitchatchi, who participated in the search and rescue team following the terrorist attack in 2001, was diagnosed with rectal cancer the following year.

Additionally, in 2002, Officer Frank Macri, who was within the area when the first tower collapsed on the attack, was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died five years later.

Meanwhile, in the case of Officer Eddie Maldonado who spent 40 hours at the area, the walnut-sized lump in his thigh had grown up to the size of a softball. He was eventually diagnosed with cancer two months after the tragedy.

Subsequently, the family of the decedents filed for a disability retirement benefits following the cops’ deaths, but the NYPD argued that their illnesses was caused by pre-existing conditions.

However, the high court explained in its ruling that although the cops’ conditions were caused by an existing condition, their illness was apparently triggered by their work at the Ground Zero, as testified by the officers’ physicians.

Consequently, the families of the decedents won their appeal and were approved for disability benefits, which the court referred to as ‘ordinary.’

Meanwhile, the NYPD expressed its disappointment with the recent ruling, according to news reports.

Incidentally, on a related note, a Los Angeles SSI Lawyer explained how a surviving spouse can be eligible to receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Based on his definition, there are certain requirements that a surviving spouse must meet in order to receive benefits based on his or her other half’s SSA records. He urged surviving spouses to immediately contact a good Los Angeles disability lawyer for proper advice and legal assistance.