Ailing Ground Zero worker Daniel Arrigo can finally breathe a little easier.
After a year-long struggle, the state’s Workers’ Compensation Board ruled in Arrigo’s favor for a third time, forcing insurance giant Zurich North America to finally pay up.
The married father of three received a check last week for nearly $20,000 in back payments from Zurich, after the Daily News highlighted his plight last month.
He called himself a poster boy for thousands of sick 9/11 responders caught between the slow-moving state compensation board and insurance firms that skillfully game the system to fight claims.
“It’s despicable how the government and insurance companies make sick people fight so hard and wait so long for what is due them,” Arrigo said.
Zurich insured Tishman Construction, which employed the construction worker at 140 West St. for four months after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Arrigo was later diagnosed with severe lung disease from the toxic dust and vapors he inhaled at Ground Zero.
He finally threw in the towel in January 2008 when he could no longer bend down to tie his boots without gasping for breath.
Ill and unemployed, Arrigo also fell behind on his rent. The family was evicted from their Staten Island home and forced to move into two cramped rooms with Arrigo’s brother in Long Beach, L.I..
Along with the $20,000, Zurich has to fork over $400 a week to Arrigo and provide health coverage.
Arrigo is far from out of the woods healthwise and he must undergo a lung biopsy in August. At least the family can now afford a roof over their head again.
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