When Congress passed the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Reauthorization Act on December 18, 2015, it made certain changes to the substance of the law. When the VCF Special Master Sheila L. Birnbaum published the Interim Final Rule to address those changes, the announcement highlighted the key changes. The new Zadroga Act:
- Extends the deadline for filing a claim from October 3, 2016 to December 18, 2020
- Codifies the definition of “9/11 crash site” to reflect the wider New York City exposure zone
- Adds new definitions of eligible conditions and specifically excludes mental health conditions
- Establishes two categories of claims — Group A and Group B — based on the date the Special Master “postmarks and transmits” the claimant’s final award determination
- Imposes caps on noneconomic compensation for different types of conditions
- Imposes a $200,000 cap on the annual gross income used to determine economic losses
- Directs the Victim Compensation Fund to prioritize claims by severity of physical condition
- Eliminates “future medical expense loss” as a compensable claim
- Eliminates minimum awards when collateral source offsets exceed the amount of compensation
- Makes the original $2.775 billion appropriation available immediately to pay claims
- Directs the Special Master to conduct an annual reassessment of policies and procedures
The most important piece of information for any potential applicant is the December 18, 2020 deadline. However, you must keep in mind that your deadline could be sooner depending on the date of your diagnosis. You must file within two years of a diagnosis of a 9/11-related cancer or other illness.
If you have questions about your eligibility for Zadroga Act benefits, contact the experienced attorneys who have represented 9/11 survivors from the outset. Call Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson at 888-351-9421 or contact our office online.