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Justice Department Compensation Fund to Be Split Between 9/11 Responders and Iran Embassy Hostages

The omnibus spending bill Congress passed in December 2015 and President Obama signed included a provision years in the making: $4.4 million in compensation for each American hostage held captive in Iran 35 years ago. The 52 Americans were stationed at the American Embassy in Tehran when Iranian students stormed the building in 1979. The embassy became their prison, where they were routinely tortured, for 444 days before being released on January 20, 1981. The terms of their release, known as the Algiers Accords, forbade the hostages from suing the Iranian government for damages.

Tom Lankford, attorney for the hostages, stated that 15 of the 52 former hostages have died, 14 are over the age of 78, and many are ill. Returning home required a difficult adjustment, and the prolonged captivity and abuse haunted their later lives. Money cannot erase physical and emotional scars, but it is a belated acknowledgement of the sacrifice they made for their country. Especially since, in the intervening years, Congress has allocated funds for other victims of Iranian terrorism.

According to The Journal News, the bipartisan legislation is also a victory for Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-GA, who fought for years to secure compensation for the former hostages. The law makes each eligible for $10,000 for every day in captivity.

Damage awards for the hostages will come from a $3.8 billion Justice Department compensation fund created under a 2014 forfeiture agreement with BNP Paribas of France for violating U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, the Sudan and Cuba. Most of that fund – $2.77 billion – is dedicated to the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which the omnibus bill reauthorized.  The remaining $1 billion is to be split between the hostages and victims of state-sponsored terrorism, such as the families of the victims of the 1983 U.S. embassy bombing in Beirut, Lebanon, the Beirut embassy annex in 1984, and the U.S. embassy in Nairobi, Kenya, in 1998.

As advocates for victims of terrorism, the attorneys of Barasch & McGarry applaud this legislation. We had our own tough fight for the original Zadroga Act and its reauthorization, so we know how much dedication it takes to push this level of spending through Congress, even when the cause is worthy. If you have questions about your rights regarding any 9/11-related illness, call us at 888-351-9421 or contact our office online.

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  • Deadline Extended to Register for Compensation

    There is still time to apply for significant compensation if you have been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers that doctors at the WTC Health Program (WTCHP) have linked to the WTC toxic dust. The deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. The two-year period to register doesn’t start on the day of a cancer diagnosis. Rather, it starts only when a cancer survivor is made aware their cancer was linked to exposure to the WTC toxins.

    For those who died from their WTC-linked cancers, the two-year period for their family to register starts on the day of the death of the WTC victim.

    Register For Compensation

Please help spread the word about the strict two-year deadline to register a claim

Many people have tried to complete the VCF application on their own, only to learn that it requires answers to hundreds of questions and many documents to download. It would be our pleasure to help you complete the process in order to ensure that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to. Please call us for a free consultation.

Let a knowledgeable attorney help you figure it out

A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying. You undoubtedly have questions about your disease and how you will pay for treatment. Lawyers at Barasch & McGarry ensure you understand the complex requirements and help devise the best strategies for obtaining compensation and appropriate medical care under the Zadroga Act. Contact our law firm online or call 888-351-9421. The initial consultation is free, so it costs you nothing to find out whether a lawyer can help.
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