The Bill Ricci World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery and Cleanup Operations Act that gives disability coverage to first responders who were part of the rescue, recovery or cleanup at the World Trade Center site after 9/11, won't immediately help the firefighter who inspired the measure.
Fire Lt. Bill Ricci, who will retire July 18 from the Clifton Fire Department due to lung disease connected to his time at ground zero, will have to pay for health benefits under COBRA during the "gap" between retirement and when his disability pension is approved.
Prior to the bill being signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday, Ricci would have been responsible for all health benefit costs immediately upon retirement.
The bill was inspired after Ricci was originally denied all disability coverage because he responded to ground zero as a volunteer and not a paid employee.