The following is the transcript from Michael Barasch’s appearance on the WNYC Morning Edition on November 30, 2017 discussing the reason why only 10% of those eligible to receive money & benefits from the Zadroga Health & Compensation Act have signed up.
“Only 10% of those eligible have signed up to receive money and healthcare from the Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which benefits 9/11 survivors. WYNC’s Christopher Johnson spoke with one recent enrollee who told him why.”
Christopher Johnson: Math teacher Catherine Heron was in her classroom at the High School of Economics and Finance when the planes hit the World Trade Center. She grabbed a few kids and they took off, in and out of subway stations, trekking through Bowling Green, she held their hands.”
Catherine Heron: “And when the buildings actually fell…we had to run now because all that smoke and stuff and debris was hurling towards us.”
Christopher Johnson: “Inhaling all that toxic ash, Heron says, was like breathing in warm sand. But, she was back at work two days later. Everything seemed fine until about two weeks later, when she went for a weekly swim lesson.”
Catherine Heron: “So I start coughing and when I got out of the pool and showered, I continually coughed. I went home coughing. When I got home, I could hardly breathe.”
Christopher Jones: “Heron had lung cancer. About six years later, she had surgery. She retired, using some disability compensation. In 2011, she learned about the Zadroga Act, and tried to apply. She says it was just overwhelming.”
Catherine Heron: “It was tedious and tiresome and you have to re-enact a whole lot of stuff at that point, which is so emotionally draining, that I just I stopped.”
Christopher Johnson: “She’s not alone. Out of about four hundred thousand eligible people, only forty thousand have actually signed up. That’s according to Michael Barasch, a lawyer who represent 9/11 victims seeking compensation. He’s teamed up with the United Federation of Teachers to convince educators that they deserve help.”
Michael Barasch: “What’s surprising to me is how the local residents and office workers are so shocked when they hear that they too are entitled to the same healthcare and compensation as the firefighters and the police officers.”
Christopher Johnson: “Catherine Heron got the message. She finally finished signing up earlier this year.”
Click here to listen to the interview.