Today, on the twenty-second anniversary of 9/11, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law the 9/11 Notice Act, which will inform thousands of 9/11 responders and survivors of their right to access free health care and compensation from the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
The act, which was introduced by Assemblyman Nader Sayegh and Senator Brian Kavanagh and passed unanimously by the State Senate and the Assembly earlier this year, requires businesses and institutions to notify their workers who were in the Lower Manhattan and northern Brooklyn exposure zones on and after 9/11 of their eligibility.
Barasch & McGarry and its Managing Partner, Michael Barasch, who represent more than 35,000 members of the 9/11 community, worked closely with Assemblyman Sayegh and Senator Kavanagh to develop the legislation and advocate for its enactment.
Anyone who was in Lower Manhattan or parts of northern Brooklyn on 9/11 or in the eight months that followed has a dramatically higher of developing 69 different types of cancer and many severe respiratory illnesses – despite initial claims by the federal government that the air near Ground Zero was safe to breathe.
Even now, twenty-two years later, fewer than 10% of 9/11 survivors have enrolled in the WTC Health Program or registered with the 9/11 VCF, compared with more than 80% of 9/11 responders.
“To this day, tens of thousands of workers, former students and residents of Lower Manhattan are unaware of their eligibility for coverage, both for themselves and their families,” said Barasch.
“Most first responders are registered due to the insistence of their unions and the city and state agencies that employed them, but the vast majority of non-responders are unaware of the protections and services available to them as well. 69 cancers have been linked to 9/11 toxins and they can take decades to develop.”
New York State’s Department of Economic Development and Department of Labor will coordinate to develop a plan to provide adequate notice of the benefits available.
If you are diagnosed with a 9/11-related cancer or respiratory illness, your family medical history and pre-existing conditions will not affect your eligibility for free health care or compensation.
If you were there in Lower Manhattan, the government presumes your cancer was the result of exposure to Ground Zero toxins.
If you are diagnosed with any 9/11-related cancers or respiratory illnesses, Barasch & McGarry can help you access resources through the free WTC Health Program and the 9/11 VCF.
The health program provides comprehensive medical care to 9/11 victims for their 9/11-related illnesses.
The victim fund offers tax-free awards for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and benefits for surviving spouses and family members.
For the WTC Health Program, the exposure zone consists of all of Manhattan below Houston Street and parts of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO in Brooklyn.
For the 9/11 VCF, the exposure zone includes the area of Manhattan south of Canal Street and west of Clinton Street.
If you were exposed to Ground Zero toxins, you should know your health status.
Protect yourself and your family. An early diagnosis could save your life.
Barasch & McGarry, Lawyers for the 9/11 Community, represents more than 35,000 members of the 9/11 community.
Visit 911victims.com or call 212-385-8000 today.