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What is the Zadroga Act and What Does it Cover?

The Zadroga Act is the shorthand many people use to refer to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. This bill, signed into law in 2010, established the two federal health programs that serve the 9/11 community. The programs were initially only funded for five years, but the health program was permanently extended in 2015 and the VCF was permanently extended in 2019. Members of the 9/11 community are now protected for life.

The 2010 and 2015 bills were named for James Zadroga, an NYPD officer who was sick after participating in rescue operations at World Trade Center. He passed away of 9/11-related pulmonary fibrosis in 2006. He was the first NYPD officer whose death was directly attributed to exposure to the WTC toxic dust. An autopsy revealed ground glass, asbestos, chromium, lead and benzene in his lung tissue. The 2019 renewal bill saw the addition of two new names to the bill’s title, FDNY’s Ray Pfeiffer and NYPD’s Louis Alvarez. These two heroes not only answered the call on 9/11 but also fought valiantly in Washington to secure funding for the Zadroga programs, even as their personal health faded. Pfeiffer passed in 2017 and Alvarez passed in 2019, but not before travelling to Washington in his final days to provide key testimony to Congress which galvanized support for the passage of the 2019 VCF renewal.

The Zadroga Act programs provide medical treatment and compensation for people with illnesses related to their exposure at the WTC or Pentagon sites. The first of these programs is the World Trade Center Health Program, which provides nationwide health monitoring and treatment to members of the 9/11 community. Not only do police, firefighters, and other rescue workers qualify for care for their 9/11-related illnesses at no cost, but students, residents, and local office workers who were below Houston Street or in Western Brooklyn on or after September 11th, 2001 can also access no cost health care as well. The program is operated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and has several “Centers of Excellence” in the New York City area. Care is also available nationwide through the Nationwide Provider Network, which matches non New York 9/11 responders and survivors with doctors in their area.

The second of the Zadroga programs is one you no doubt heard about in the news, thanks to 9/11 Community advocate and celebrity Jon Stewart. The Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) is operated by the Department of Justice. It provides compensation to anybody who has a physical illness related to 9/11. These payouts can provide financial security to those who are disabled and to families whose loved ones have passed away. The VCF is available to anybody who was below Canal Street on or during parts of the 8 months after September 11th, 2001, and who has a physical illness certified by the World Trade Center Health Program. Claims can, of course, also be amended if new illnesses develop. The VCF has been extended to 2090!

We can help you apply to both of these programs. Contact us for help with the process.

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  • "Barasch McGarry Salzman & Penson handled everything professionally and with patience. They always had time to answer all my questions and did what they promised. Thanks esp to Brian Calamaris Lee London, and Mariya Atanasova. Thank you." - William Collins, FDNY

  • "If I could give them six stars I would...don't even bother talking to anyone else concerning 9/11. The whole team worked night and day to deliver an outstanding settlement. They are honest, hard working and extremely professional. Just make the one phone call and let them do the rest." - Les Margulis, resident in the exposure zone

  • "I had a very good experience with Michael and Mariya. They made the process stress free. I would recommend this firm to anyone seeking assistance with 9/11 related illnesses." - JE Kirwan, worked in the exposure zone

  • "The people at this firm were just great. They were concern with making sure I was taken care of in every way possible. When I was given an award Mr. Barasch didn't think it was a fair amount and appealed the decision which got me a larger award. I am very satisfied with everything they did for me in the past and are willing to do for me and my family in the future." - Bob Wiecezak, FDNY-Retired

  • "Excellent law firm. Lee London and his staff were very responsive and always followed up with phone calls or emails. This firm is a strong example of what caring and personable lawyers are all about." - Letitia Egan, wife of client, volunteer in the exposure zone

  • 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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