Ramirez bill to extend filing deadline for 9/11 first responders clears Assembly panel


A bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Jessica Ramirez (D-32) to extend the filing deadline for 9/11 first responders cleared the Assembly State and Local Government Committee earlier today.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“This bill provides a necessary extension. First responders risked everything to fight for us. I sponsored this bill to ensure that we keep fighting for them,” Ramirez said in a statement.

Bill A-4004, also sponsored by Assemblymen Julio Marenco and Gabriel Rodriguez (both D-32), would allow an extension to file for accidental disability retirement allowance for first responders who assisted in the rescue, recovery, and cleanup at the World Trade Center.

In 2019, Gov. Phil Murphy signed A-4882/S-3474, better known as the Ricci Act, into law.

Named after firefighter Bill Ricci who inspired the bill, the Ricci Act allowed for first responders who became disabled as a result of the World Trade Center attacks to file for an Accidental Disability Retirement. Eligible first responders had until July 8th, 2021 to file.

The original bill was an important step in providing relief, Ramirez said, however, first responders have raised the concern that an extension is crucial to reaching everyone in need.

Some may be sick due to toxic exposure on September 11th, 2001, but have symptoms that did not present until after the filing deadline. The timing of COVID-19 also presented a significant barrier, especially for those fighting cancer and other chronic disease.

The bill was crafted in partnership with key stakeholders and members of the affected community.

“It is an honor to work with Assemblywoman Ramirez and my first responder colleagues to continue to help shepherd relief to our members who selflessly ran toward danger during the worst attack on our nation,” State Troopers Fraternal Association President Wayne Blanchard.

“We need to continue to make available the relief our members are in great need of as many have begun suffering from forms of silent killers since their response. Some of these members have even made the ultimate sacrifice and their survivors must be afforded every benefit they are entitled to.”

Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey (PFANJ) President Matthew Caliente underlines the necessity of ensuring that affected members are not excluded from benefits.

“The PFANJ strongly supports and will advocate for the passing of Bill A-4004 that extends deadlines and introduces alternative proof of eligibility, emphasizing the importance of including all responders affected by the 9/11 operations in accessing retirement benefits.”

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  1. This is a great fight on assemblywoman Ramirez. I know that our pension board members are doing their job, but it is a shame that they have to denied their own colleagues due to governmental time lines while these heroes risked it all and now we are facing ailments that God only knows what’s going to happen in the future. We can’t predict the future. I feel honored to be part of that fight along with Ms. Ramirez, fire officers, police and first responders. If God is with us, nothing will be against us.