Among the many devastating effects of September 11 are the lingering medical problems faced by first responders who worked at Ground Zero. Though it has been nearly 14 years since terrorists steered planes into the Twin Towers, serious health issues have long dogged those workers who were part of the rescue and recovery efforts, as well as downtown Manhattan residents who were assured that “the air is safe”. In response to these problems, lawmakers established the Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Fund, which provides funding of medical treatment and compensation to these individuals.
The Act created two components: a medical treatment fund which allows first responders to receive medical treatment, as well as a compensation fund which pays out benefits to victims. The WTC Health Fund is set to expire in October 2015 and the Victim Compensation Fund will run out in October 2016.
However, victims are still dealing with a myriad of health problems related to the attacks. Often symptoms take years to appear but can be linked back to the individuals’exposure to WTC toxic dust. In the weeks and months following the attacks, first responders and cleanup workers breathed in toxic fumes that have since affected their well being. More than 800 members of the fire department and 550 NYPD officers have died as a result of this exposure.
NYC Council members are pushing for a resolution that will ask Congress to extend the Act and provide funding through 2041. The 25-year extension will allow first responders who develop symptoms after the current deadlines to still receive health care and compensation for their injuries. The new bill was introduced in the House of Representatives and Senate. It remains to be seen whether the new Congress will be receptive to extending the Zadrgoa VCF Act.
Thousands have suffered health problems in the wake of September 11, 2001. If you’re dealing with a condition you believe is connected to your exposure on that fateful day, you may be eligible for compensation. To learn more about your legal rights, meet with an experienced New York City injury lawyer at Barasch, McGarry Salzman & Penson.