Scammers soiling the 9/11 hero image

A repercussion of this fraud will be extra scrutiny and delayed claims on those with legitimate problems related to 9/11

You knew this was going to be bad when the reports of alleged disability fraud stemming from the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center began coming out in January. With 28 new indictments now filed, it appears there is a widespread effort by NYC public safety providers to defraud the government, resulting in potentially hundreds of millions of ill-gained payouts.

It’s tragic. 

There were many acts of heroism that day, and many selfless acts of honor and duty in the weeks and months after the attacks. Both civilians and public safety providers played vital roles in saving lives and offering comfort and compassion to both victims and survivors. Many of these people have contracted a variety of both physical and psychiatric ailments that have caused permanent disability.

For quite some time, our government has been shameful in its recognition of these issues, dragging its bureaucratic feet in developing the resources and funding to help. But a recovery fund was eventually established.

All of this makes the allegations of fraud maddening, albeit not surprising. To a very limited degree, I see how the power of rationalization can tempt someone to step over the ethical line and put in for a claim.

But to have a “playbook” with instructions on how to game the system? That’s pretty unbelievable. And sad.

One of the repercussions of this fraud will be the effect on those who have a legitimate medical or psychiatric problem directly related to 9/11. No doubt they will have to endure additional scrutiny, and even a delay in having their claims published.

Nothing like being victimized twice.

About the author

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of "EMT Exam for Dummies," has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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