*** UPDATE: Since the date of this blog post, the deadline for filing a claim with the Victim Compensation Fund has been extended until December 18, 2020. ***
In 2011, Congress passed the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act, which established a program within the Department of Health and Human Services to provide medical monitoring and treatment benefits to workers who responded to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It also provided initial health evaluations, monitoring and treatment benefits to residents, other building occupants and area workers directly impacted and adversely affected by the attacks. This World Trade Center Health Program began on July 1, 2011 but was only authorized to continue through 2015. The law also assists persons who suffered economic losses due to physical injury or death, through a Victim Compensation Fund, which is likewise due to expire October 3, 2016.
Lawmakers declare, “We have a moral obligation…”
Following an announcement on April 14, 2015, a bi-partisan group of Senators and Congressional representatives is sponsoring legislation to renew authorization of the WTC Health Program. Sponsors note that nearly 14 years after September 11th, our responders and survivors are still battling serious health issues resulting from the toxins at Ground Zero. More than 33,000 persons have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and more than two-thirds of those have multiple illnesses. So far, 3,900 cancers have been diagnosed among 9/11 responders and survivors, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Although much of the public views this as a New York City issue, victims and rescue workers came from diverse areas of the country. The World Trade Center Health Program provides treatment and services for participants who currently reside in 429 of the 435 Congressional districts in the country. Supporters of the legislation also come from all over the nation and hope that the new law passes during this session of Congress before the existing law expires.
Michael Barasch, managing partner of Barasch & McGarry, attended the press conference. He stood alongside Joseph Zadroga, father of James Zadroga, the NYCPD detective who lost his life as a result of pulmonary fibrosis that he developed after working 200 hours at the WTC site, breathing the toxic dust without any respiratory protection.
As attorneys dedicated to justice for 9/11 first responders and survivors, Barasch & McGarry fully supports the re-authorization of the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund. If you have an illness or injury that you believe qualifies you for assistance, call our post-9/11 attorneys at 888-351-9421 or contact us online. There is no cost for an initial consultation to discuss your case with a lawyer who understands your situation and the law.