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Zadroga Act Rule Changes Seek to Reduce Burden on Claimants

When the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Reauthorization Act went into effect last December, Congress charged the Justice Department with writing a rule to implement it. The Attorney General appointed Sheila L. Birnbaum as Special Master, and Ms. Birnbaum recently published the Interim Final Rule for the VCF. Potential claimants should be aware that the Interim Final Rule contains regulatory changes designed to reduce the burden of applying. These changes include:

  • Expanding the definition of spouse to include a same-sex spouse who was lawfully married to a deceased 9/11 victim under applicable state law
  • Removing the requirement that a claimant submit all tax returns beginning three years prior to a deceased victim’s death up to the year of death or the year the claim was filed, but allowing the Special Master to retain discretion to require tax returns especially where the applicant claims loss of income for a self-employed individual
  • Adding a new paragraph to section 104.45(e) to clarify how the Special Master determines “noneconomic loss for economic loss claims” by “taking into account the extent of disability and the fact that different eligible conditions may contribute to the disability”
  • Giving the Special Master discretion to “consider the effect of multiple cancer conditions or multiple cancer and non-cancer conditions in computing the total noneconomic loss” rather than strictly observing a single $250,000 cap for cancer and $90,000 for a non-cancer illness
  • Removing the requirement that a personal representative of a deceased victim must submit a plan of distribution for an award before payment can be authorized, but giving the Special Master discretion to require submission of a plan

As a leading law firm representing 9/11 responders, victims and survivors, Barasch, McGarry, Salzman & Penson appreciates the steps being taken to reduce unnecessary burdens on VCF claimants. We also appreciate the efficiency that the Special Master has demonstrated in meeting the deadlines for action prescribed in the new law. We hope that the good work continues, so that pending claims and new claims are paid in a timely manner.

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.

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Deadline Extended To Register Claims Must file within 2 years from the date your cancer was linked to WTC toxic dust
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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.

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    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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