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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has called on the Bloomberg administration to find ways to streamline the process of applying for compensation for those who volunteered in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Quinn said the city must ensure the volunteers sickened from their time working downtown in the aftermath of the attacks get the care and support they deserve.
“We don’t want to just say ‘thank you’ with two words. We want to show our gratitude. We can do that by cutting through the red tape and helping these folks get the funds that they are owed by the federal government,” Quinn said.
In order to qualify for federal help, sick or injured ground zero volunteers who lack other proof must have two people swear they worked there.
Quinn said the city should help these volunteers locate first responders and others who can attest to their service.
To help them qualify for federal money, ground zero volunteers could get the ball rolling by sending the city basic information.
“If Joe Smith called 311, for example, and said ‘I was at ground zero on xyz day. I worked beside the Red Cross, I worked beside the Fire Department,’ we have the ability then to backtrack with those groups and help Joe Smith get the paperwork he needs,” Quinn said.
The speaker said without a system in place to get volunteers the assistance they are entitled to, it is up to the city to step in.
“People who gave when we didn’t even ask, people who just showed up of their own goodness are going to get left behind, many of them sick,” said Quinn.
Last year, the federal government approved a $2.7 billion fund to compensate emergency workers and others who were sickened by the toxic dust that lingered in lower Manhattan.
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