NY Reps Demand Answers from Attorney General on Benefits for 9/11 Paramedics
Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Vito Fossella (R-NY), Anthony Weiner (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today urged U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to honor five private hospital paramedics, who responded to the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11 and are now permanently disabled as a direct result of their work, with benefits under the Public Safety Officer's Benefits (PSOB) Program (letter to Mukasey).
The members of Congress wrote a similar letter to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales last year and received no response. During that time, however, the Justice Department posthumously awarded a PSOB survivor death benefit to the family of a private hospital paramedic who died responding to the attacks. It is also believed that at least two other paramedics who lost their lives on 9/11 were posthumously awarded PSOB benefits. Additionally, the State of New York enacted a law last year granting private hospital paramedics the same benefits as municipal first responders.
"These heroes were there for us when we needed them most, and we should be there for them now in their time of need. It's unacceptable that the Justice Department has ignored this issue for over a year. Attorney General Mukasey should do the right thing and honor these heroes with the benefits they deserve," said Maloney.
"These heroes put their own safety and lives on the line to save others on 9/11. There is no reason that their cases should remain in limbo more than a year after they submitted applications. The Public Safety Officer's Benefits Program is designed to support first responders who are permanently disabled or their families if they are killed in the line of the duty. These four unsung heroes should have their cases resolved without delay," said Fossella.
"It's unacceptable that the Department of Justice has for the past year disregarded our request to recognize these brave paramedics for benefits," said King. "These men became permanently disabled while acting selflessly and honorably to save the lives of others on September 11th. They deserve better."
"These brave first responders put themselves in terrible danger so that they might save the lives of others," Nadler said. "To withhold benefits from the heroes of 9/11 is a shameful slap in the face."