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Advocates, Lawmakers Push to Extend 9/11 Programs, Benefits

In the months and years after the attacks of September 11, 2001, a number of programs were created to address incurred and ongoing losses of those impacted. These programs specifically aim to allow individuals to recoup medical expenses paid for treatment related to exposure at Ground Zero.

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act has allowed first responders to access health care and provides financial programs for individuals to receive compensation for their losses. Many assumed the need for this fund would be temporary in nature, but even 10 years later, it is still necessary as first responders continue to be inflicted by health conditions related to their work on the World Trade Center site.

Keeping the program open

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) is working to extend the health care program to continue providing aid to these first responders. On April 27, Sen. Kirk met with a number of 9/11 first responders, as well as members of organizations who worked in the rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero. The group discussed the need for the program and pledged to continue fighting for it to remain open to applicants.  Michael Barasch, attorney for the Zadroga family and counsel to nearly 10,000 sick first responders and local residents, stood along side Sen.Kirk, as well as NYS Senators Schumer and Gillibrand at the Press conference in Congress.

A companion bill to the Zadroga Act has been introduced to the House of Representatives that would extend the WTC Health Program, provide continued monitoring and treatment of first responders and leave open the September 11Victim Compensation Fund. In addition, it would provide for continued research into the diagnosis and treatment of 9/11-related illnesses.

Currently, the fund is set to remain open through October 2016, with final payments distributed in 2016 and 2017. If you believe you qualify for a claim, speak with a skilled New York injury attorney at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson.

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