Past Updates


Past WTC Updates

September 2023

On September 11, 2001 and in the days, weeks and months that followed, many City colleagues went above and beyond the call of duty, at great personal sacrifice, to assist in the Rescue, Recovery and Clean-up efforts. 

NYCERS members are heroes, and there are a lot of them – NYCERS has received more than 12,300 Notices of Participation from our members who served in World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery and Clean Up.

NYCERS streamlined the Notice of Participation process to make it easier for members to file (it can be done online!), and increased support available to members after filing – each applicant has a case manager.

Thank you to our colleagues who served the City with excellence and dedication during a difficult time. We are committed to supporting our members through every stage of their NYCERS membership, including compassionate service throughout the disability retirement process.

June 2023

During the first half of the year, NYCERS met with Local 2507 and other World Trade Center (WTC) stakeholders. From this meeting came several great ideas to improve the WTC disability process, which NYCERS has implemented.

Here are some of our accomplishments since January 2023:

  • Added a direct link to the list of WTC-Related Health Conditions on;
  • Revised the case management process to make it easier for members and retirees diagnosed with a terminal illness or who are gravely ill to notify NYCERS;
  • The World Trade Center (WTC) Review Committee has reviewed 49 cases; and
  • Created a process where an attorney may request their client’s Notice of Participation and supporting documentation from NYCERS.

NYCERS continues to seek ways to improve service and case management. In 2023, NYCERS plans to add a disability webpage to its website to improve stakeholders’ understanding of the disability process and timelines.

Click here to see what clients are saying about their experience during the Disability Retirement process.

December 2022

During 2022, NYCERS proactively initiated follow up meetings with many stakeholders, including employer partners, union partners, and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Those “listening sessions” provided valuable insight, which NYCERS translated into more proactive outreach and support to its stakeholders.

Some accomplishments in 2022:

  • The World Trade Center (WTC) Review Committees reviewed and processed 37 cases throughout the year;
  • Met with employer and labor benefit coordinators to explain World Trade Center eligibility criteria, and review the importance of their role in the WTC verification process;
  • Met with specific unions to review the WTC webpage, the disability applications process and timeline, the role of the NYCERS Medical Board, and WTC legislation;
  • Added an overview of the Medical Board process to to help improve stakeholder understanding of the Disability Retirement process;
  • Improved case management, with more proactive outreach throughout the disability application process. Click here to see what clients are saying about their experience during the Disability Retirement process;
  • Met with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund to meet the new employees and discuss suggestions to streamline processing; and
  • Met with the New York City Fire Department to discuss WTC and disability processes and best practices for working together.

In 2023, NYCERS plans to add a disability webpage to its website to improve stakeholders’ understanding of the disability process and timelines.

September 2022

NYCERS has made many enhancements to our Medical Board and WTC Disability processing:

  • Reduced WTC Notices of Participation waiting for verification by nearly 90%
  • Added eight new Medical Board physicians
  • NYCERS had its first all-female Medical Board in 2021, and has had more than six all-female Medical boards since then
  • Applicants and their attorneys can now upload, review and access medical records online via a secured portal​
  • Members are now able to appear before the NYCERS Board of Trustees via video conference​
  • And much more…

Click here to learn some Fast Facts About the NYCERS Medical Board.

See what members are saying about their experience during the Disability Retirement process.

December 2021

In 2021, Governor Hochul signed into law, two pieces of legislation that impact eligibility for and processing of World Trade Center benefits:

Chapter 424 of the Laws of 2021 expands the eligibility of certain public service employees for participation in the World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery or Clean-up Operations. The law now includes public employees who became NYCERS members after the qualifying period under WTC law, but were employees of a public employer during the covered time period, and purchased some or all of the qualifying pre-membership period.

Chapter 425 of the Laws of 2021 allows for electronic submission of a Notice of Participation in World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery or Clean-up Operations. NYCERS was an early supporter of this bill, which will help streamline processing of WTC claims.

Both laws are effective as of September 13, 2021.

December 11, 2020

Medical Board Appointments

Between 2017 and 2020, the following doctors were appointed to the NYCERS Medical Board:


Dr. Jane Daly, Oncology
Dr. John Hasset, Pulmonologist/Internal Medicine
Dr. Noel Mancherje, Internal Medicine
Dr. Kathryn Ko, Neurosurgery


Dr. Frederick A. Rapoport, Internal Medicine/Medical Oncology


Dr. Peter R. Neumann, General Surgery and Oncologic Surgery
Dr. Damian J. Martino, Internal Medicine and Pain Medicine


Dr. Jeffrey Kornreich, Physiatrist
Dr. Rashida Y. White-McCrimmon, Emergency Medicine
Dr. Robert Braff, Cardiologist/Internal Medicine

During this period (2017-2020), four doctors have transitioned off the NYCERS Medical Board. 

The following doctors were appointed prior to 2017 and remain on NYCERS’ Medical Board:

Dr. Joseph Bottner, Emergency Medicine (Chair)
Dr. John J. Daly, Gastroenterologist/Internal Medicine
Dr. Warren T. Janus, General Surgeon/Internal Medicine
Dr. Theobald Reich, General Surgeon/Vascular Surgery/Internal Medicine
Dr. Lawrence Scharer, Pulmonologist/Geriatrician/Internal Medicine
Dr. Marjorie Scheiber, Physiatrist
Dr. Vasilios Sierros, Pulmonologist/Internal Medicine
Dr. Robert Silverman, Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine


October 8, 2020

Senate Standing Committee on Pensions and Civil Service
  • From 2017 to present, NYCERS added six new physicians to the Medical Board and four physicians have left the board.
  • In November of 2017, at the time I appeared at a Senate hearing on World Trade Center, over 10,000 Notices of Participation had been filed. That has increased at this time to 11,580. Of that number, 7,596 have been verified and 154 are pending agency verification. The remainder 3,830, were not able to be verified for a variety of reasons, such as the individual volunteered for Rescue, Recovery and Cleanup and was not sent by their employer, the individual was not a member, or did not meet other requirements as specified in the law.
  • In November of 2017, there were 977 Notices of Participation waiting for agency verification. That has been reduced to 154 despite the increase of over 1,100 new Notices of Participation having been filed during that time period.
  • In 2019, a change in law to allow for more medical board doctors provided NYCERS with the capability to hire more doctors in the future in anticipation that many of the over 7,596 verified World Trade Center Notices of Participation on file could result in disability applications if more of our members become ill, or if new specialties are needed.
  • The Medical Board law also eliminated the requirement that a Medical Board be comprised of doctors from each of the three appointing authorities. As a result of this flexibility, we have more than doubled the number of Medical Board meetings from two per week to nearly five per week.
  • A WTC Medical Board was also added that did not previously exist. The WTC Medical Board meets three times per month.
  • We issued secure NYCERS laptops to the doctors to allow them to review member case information outside of the office and improve the efficiency of the process.
  • We began offering virtual Medical Board interviews where a physical exam may not be necessary.
  • We have enabled physicians to securely and electronically sign Medical Board reports. Previously, hard signatures required each doctor to be onsite in order to finalize a report. If any of the three doctors weren’t scheduled to be on site, it delayed the finalization of a case and the mailing of the report to the member.
  • As a result of the increases in the number of Medical Board meetings and other process improvements, we have shortened the process for members by an average of 60 days. We continue to explore ways to further shorten this time frame. 
  • The Medical Board added additional external medical consultants, especially in psychiatry.
  • NYCERS WTC Fact Sheet was updated to provide clarity on questions raised by members and stakeholders.
  • We revised the letter to members whose Agency could not verify participation at WTC clarifying what documents would support their case.
  • NYCERS established a case management team to handle WTC disability filings. Members, their representatives, and attorneys, have direct access to staff who specialize in World Trade Center applications and processing. 
  • The FDNY and EMT Local 2507 have been provided with direct contacts for disability, WTC and death benefit applications to help expedite processing for these members or their survivors and to allow for greater communication and collaboration between our agencies.

July 17, 2018

Verifying Notices of Participation
  • At the time of the November 2017 hearing, there were more than 10,000 Notices of Participation filed by NYCERS members – now there are more than 10,400.
  • As of December 14, 2017, there were 977 Notices of Participation waiting for agency verification. The Mayor’s office followed up with Mayoral agencies, and NYCERS followed up with non-Mayoral agencies.  As of February 2018, there were 533 outstanding Notices, including new Notices received. Since then, an additional 165 new Notices were filed. At the present time, a total of 394 are awaiting agency verification. NYCERS and the Mayor’s office have initiated a second round of follow-up on the remaining Notices.
  • NYCERS’ Board of Trustees passed a resolution at its February 2018 board meeting to enable members to appear before the World Trade Center Review Committee to present evidence of their participation for consideration if NYCERS has been unsuccessful in getting a response from the member’s employer.
  • NYCERS’ Board of Trustees also formed two additional World Trade Center Review Committees, beginning in March, in order to afford more members the opportunity to present their evidence.  Prior to the formation of the two additional committees, 4.5 cases were reviewed per month on average.  With three review committees, the average is now more than 21 cases per month.
  • NYCERS is implementing technology that will allow members to view the status of their Notice of Participation in their MyNYCERS account by the end of this year – they will see the Date of Filing and Disposition (Approved, Denied or Pending). 
Policies and Procedures
  • NYCERS’ Board of Trustees supported a policy change to allow a pensioner who has retired from a WTC qualifying condition to subsequently request consideration to be found disabled from another WTC qualifying condition or conditions. This puts NYCERS’ WTC policies and procedures in line with NYC Police Pension Fund and NYC Fire Department Pension Fund policies with regard to submitting multiple WTC disability applications. This policy change benefits WTC disability pensioners in the following ways:
    • If a pensioner received a WTC disability pension based on a qualifying psychiatric condition and is subsequently determined to be disabled from a WTC qualifying physical condition or conditions, the pensioner may qualify for an economic loss award from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and other federal benefits. 
    • For titles entitled to health insurance under the WTC Accidental Death Benefit, the policy change may expedite an eligible beneficiary’s access to health insurance.
    • If a pensioner received a WTC disability pension based on a qualifying physical condition and is then determined to be disabled from a subsequent physical qualifying condition or conditions (e.g., first condition pulmonary, second condition cancer), and the pensioner dies from the subsequent physical condition(s), the policy change reduces the application processing time required for the WTC Accidental Death Benefit, since the pensioner already qualified for the WTC presumption based on the subsequent physical condition(s).
    • For titles entitled to health insurance under the WTC Accidental Death Benefit, the policy change may expedite an eligible beneficiary’s access to health insurance.
Medical Board and Independent Medical Examiners
  • We added three doctors to the Medical Board; however, we continue to be limited in the number of doctors that can be appointed by each of the three appointing authorities by NYC Administrative Code Section 13-123.
  • The Chair of the Medical Board is continuing his efforts to add more Independent Medical Examiners.
  • NYCERS worked with Dr. Michael Crane, Medical Director, WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai and Medical Director, Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health, to arrange a meeting of NYCERS Medical Board and NYCERS staff with doctors who work with individuals who participate in the WTC Health programs to discuss their experiences and recommendations.  Dr. Crane was joined at this meeting by Dr. David Prezant, Chief Medical Officer for the FDNY, and Dr. Laura Crowley, Deputy Medical Director, Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health.
  • NYCERS worked with the Medical Board to improve their reports in order to more clearly explain the basis for their determinations.
  • NYCERS’ Board of Trustees approved two additional staff requested in NYCERS’ Fiscal Year 2019 budget to provide for intensive case management of World Trade Center cases. This is particularly important, considering the more than 10,400 Notices of Participation filed. The number of World Trade Center disability applications is expected to rise over time as more members develop disabling conditions. NYCERS is in the process of hiring these additional positions.
  • It was recommended at the February Roundtable that NYCERS add a WTC section to our website.  At the end of March, the new WTC section went live on with links to helpful information, forms and Federal WTC programs.  The summary of improvements that I reported at the February roundtable was posted in March.

    We were also asked about using technology to improve the interface between NYCERS, members, and their attorneys.
  • With the implementation of our Customer Relationship Management technology in late 2019, members will be able to use their MyNYCERS account to upload documents and obtain information. 
  • We will also be able to establish accounts for attorneys who have been authorized by the member to have access to information related to the processing of their disability case.
  • With regard to the WTC Review Committees mentioned above, we now allow interviews with these committees to take place via video conferencing for members who are unable to appear in person. 
  • We also accept videotaped testimony to assist in verifying participation from members who are terminally ill and not able to appear before the WTC Review Committee.
  • When members appear before the WTC Review Committee and bring medical evidence with them, have questions regarding the disability process, or advise that they are suffering from an illness, we set up a meeting with a counselor from the NYCERS Medical Division immediately following their interview with the committee, so that they can be counseled on the WTC disability process.
  • We also reviewed the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund’s (VCF) benefit models to see if the models could be simplified where benefits are the same for different plans.  Our review revealed that a few models could in fact be combined, and we provided VCF with our findings.   
  • At the request of one of NYCERS’ trustees, we added World Trade Center content to our member seminars.  I personally saw the benefit of this when a member approached me after I had presented the material and told me he had been sent by his employer to work the pile and has subsequently had two bouts of cancer and did not even know about these benefits.  He was walked through the process of applying for Verification of Participation.
  • We also developed WTC content and flyers that we have provided to unions and other advocacy groups to include in newsletters and member outreach. 

March 29, 2018

On November 15, 2017, NYCERS General Counsel Ilyse Sisolak and I testified at a public hearing sponsored by the Senate Standing Committee on Civil Service and Pensions. We listened to the discussion regarding accidental disability applications filed by those who participated in the World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery, and Clean-up Operations. Our goal was to hear the concerns members had regarding NYCERS’ WTC policies and processes. This public hearing has led to many changes here at NYCERS, which I presented at the follow-up Senate Roundtable on February 15, 2018. They are outlined below. 

Stakeholder Meetings
  • Since the November 15 hearing, my team and I have met with a variety of stakeholders, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and her representatives; the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF); the FealGood Foundation; attorneys affiliated with the FealGood Foundation; Dr. Michael Crane, the Medical Director of the Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health at The Mount Sinai Hospital and of the WTC Health Program Clinical Center of Excellence at Mount Sinai; and FDNY Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro and his executive team. We also met with Oren Barzilay, President of the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY, Local 2507 of DC 37; Jack Schaefer, his Pension/Grievance Coordinator; and their team, along with Chet Lukaszewski.
  • The VCF came in and met with NYCERS’ Board of Trustees and NYCERS staff on January 11 to provide an overview of VCF benefits. This provided a great deal of clarification on the benefits, as well as the criteria and process. We have since had follow-up conversations with the VCF on outstanding questions and have affirmed our commitment to providing any information needed by the VCF for the processing of benefits.
Notices of Participation
  • As of December 14, 2017, we had reported that there were 977 outstanding Agency Verification Reports. A representative from the Mayor’s office contacted mayoral agencies and NYCERS continued to contact non-Mayoral agencies to follow up on outstanding Notices. Since that time, we received 51 new Notices from members and 613 Agency Reports from various City agencies. At the present time, 415 Agency Reports remain outstanding. 
  • NYCERS’ Board of Trustees passed a resolution at its December Board meeting creating two additional WTC Review Committees, for a total of three. These Committees enable more members to present their documentation to the NYCERS Board to be considered for verification of participation in WTC Rescue, Recovery, and Clean-Up Operations when the member’s agency has been unable to verify the member’s participation. One member of the original Committee is participating on each of the committees to make sure there is consistency between the three committees. 
Policy Changes
  • NYCERS changed its policy to permit members to simultaneously file for several types of retirement benefits and enable them to start receiving a benefit as soon as their first application is approved, without hindering the other pending applications. This allows a member to receive benefits and health insurance while additional benefits are still being processed. If the member is later found qualified for a different benefit, the member may choose to retire under this new benefit. The new benefit will be retroactive to the first retirement date or to the earliest date permitted by law.
  • In response to clarification of the VCF process and the fact that psychiatric conditions are not eligible for VCF benefits, in situations where a member files a WTC application for both a qualifying psychiatric condition and a physical condition, if the psychiatric condition is approved first, NYCERS is changing its policy to continue to evaluate the qualifying physical condition and render a decision on the physical condition as well.  Accordingly, if the applicant is subsequently approved for a WTC qualifying physical condition, the member would be eligible to be considered for VCF benefits. Additionally, if the member passes from the WTC qualifying condition they were found disabled for, it eases the process for the applicant’s statutorily defined beneficiary to apply for an accidental death benefit.
  • NYCERS will allow employers to submit additional documentation that provides clarification of an applicant’s duties. This will be reviewed by the Medical Board in addition to the Department of Citywide Administrative Service’s General Statement of Duties and Responsibilities. In the case of EMTs, this additional documentation will provide a more detailed description of the physical and State certification requirements to assist the Medical Board in determining whether the applicant is permanently disabled from performing the duties of his/her position.
  • If a member is examined by an Independent Medical Examiner, NYCERS will provide the applicant with a copy of the report after it has been reviewed by the Medical Board for completeness.
  • The NYCERS Board of Trustees also formed a subcommittee on WTC to explore potential remedies and any legislative actions they may individually wish to propose directly to the Senate committee.
Process Changes
  • NYCERS formed an internal workgroup to review WTC and disability retirement policies and procedures in response to the information received at the hearing as well as the recommendations received in all of the subsequent meetings. 
  • NYCERS is working with the FDNY and DCAS to ensure that we have the most up-to-date job requirements for EMTs.
  • Where members who appear before the WTC Review Committee are found to have other customer service needs (e.g., want to file a disability retirement application, etc.), they are immediately taken to Client Services for a consultation.
  • NYCERS is reviewing medical-related brochures and fact sheets to ensure that we are providing the most up-to-date information and to add additional clarification where needed. During this review, we will be considering where to publish the Board of Trustees’ request that members and pensioners be informed that the WTC Review Committee will consider video testimony describing WTC Rescue, Recovery, and Clean-Up activities when the member or pensioner is terminally ill.
  • We provided the FDNY and Local 2507 of DC 37 (the EMT Union) with direct contacts for disability, WTC, and death cases to allow for greater communication and collaboration between our agencies.
Medical Board
  • NYCERS’ Legal Division has been working with the NYC Law Department to create a list of common issues seen by the courts. With this information, NYCERS will work with the Chair of NYCERS’ Medical Board to improve Medical Board reports.
  • I met with the Chair of NYCERS’ Medical Board to discuss suggestions and concerns expressed during our discussions with stakeholders and the Board of Trustees. 
  • We had a conference with NYCERS’ Medical Board during which we discussed concerns and improvements that can be made. The Chair and the Medical Board affirmed their commitment to provide fair and consistent assessments of all members’ disability applications in a professional manner and provide reports that reflect their efforts. 
  • We are requesting two additional staff as part of the FY 2019 budget in order to more actively manage and expedite WTC disability applications filed by members and pensioners. This is particularly important, as more than 10,000 WTC Notices of Participation have been filed, and the number of members, retirees, and beneficiaries who file for WTC benefits is expected to rise over time, due to members who participated in Rescue, Recovery, and Clean-up Operations developing disabling conditions. 
  • We are also requesting additional funds in the FY 2019 budget to accommodate additional independent medical examiners and consultants, which will alleviate some of the backlog we are currently seeing.
Changes to Examination Space
  • NYCERS is creating a separate space for Medical Board interviews. When the renovation is complete, there will be an interview space outside of the medical examination room. 
  • We are also updating the examination room to make it more comfortable for the members.
  • Beginning with applications filed in calendar year 2018, NYCERS has changed its system and process for collecting statistics. Over time, we will be able to report in greater detail on the number and types of applications filed by members.
  • While the majority of improvements to submitting or receiving documents electronically will happen with our Legacy Replacement Project implementation, we are researching interim improvements that could be made to expedite communication with the applicant and facilitate the submission of documents.
September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF)
  • NYCERS and the VCF confirmed contacts for sharing and clarifying information.
  • NYCERS worked with the VCF to create a secure data transfer to provide the VCF with member information. This will speed up the sharing of information required by the VCF and lessen the burden on our members. The VCF’s first request for information has been transferred successfully.
  • NYCERS provided the VCF with additional information and clarification so they are better able to interpret NYCERS documents.
  • NYCERS is also working with the VCF to review their benefit models as they relate to NYCERS benefits.
The entire NYCERS’ team remains committed to working with NYCERS’ Board of Trustees, the NYCERS Medical Board, the Senate Standing Committee, and stakeholder groups to make changes that will help our members who served the City of New York in the Rescue, Recovery, and Clean-Up efforts to expeditiously receive all benefits that they are entitled to.