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Am J Ind Med. 2011 Sep;54(9):672-80. doi: 10.1002/ajim.20965. Epub 2011 May 6.

The impact of the World Trade Center attack on FDNY firefighter retirement, disabilities, and pension benefits.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Our goal was to examine the effect of the World Trade Center (WTC) attack and subsequent New York City Fire Department (FDNY) rescue/recovery activities on firefighter retirements. We also analyzed the financial impact associated with the increased number and proportion of service-connected "accidental" disability retirements on the FDNY pension system.

METHODS:

A total of 7,763 firefighters retired between 9/11/1994 and 9/10/2008. We compared the total number of retirements and the number and proportion of accidental disability retirements 7 years before and 7 years after the WTC attack. We categorized WTC-related accidental disability retirements by medical cause and worked with the New York City Office of the Actuary to approximate the financial impact by cause.

RESULTS:

In the 7 years before 9/11 there were 3,261 retirements, 48% (1,571) of which were accidental disability retirements. In the 7 years after 9/11, there were 4,502 retirements, 66% (2,970) were accidental disability retirements, of which 47% (1,402) were associated with WTC-related injuries or illnesses. After 9/11, the increase in accidental disability retirements was, for the most part, due to respiratory-related illnesses. Additional increases were attributed to psychological-related illnesses and musculoskeletal injuries incurred at the WTC site. Pension benefits associated with WTC-related accidental disability retirements have produced an increased financial burden of over $826 million on the FDNY pension system.

CONCLUSIONS:

The WTC attacks affected the health of the FDNY workforce resulting in more post-9/11 retirements than expected, and a larger proportion of these retirees with accidental disability pensions.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

PMID:
21557282
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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