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Benefits Available for Lower Manhattan Teachers Sickened by WTC Toxins

Experienced and dedicated post-9/11 attorneys fight for your rights

With the passage of time, it has become evident that first responders and recovery workers are not the only persons sickened by toxins released from the wreckage of the World Trade Center after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Among the emerging victims are teachers who worked at schools located below Canal Street in Manhattan. Federal, state, and local government pushed for a return to normalcy after the attacks, but that push proved premature. As the toxic dust was settling  around them, the public was told that the air was safe. Fast-forward 16-plus years, teachers who were exposed to toxins in the workplace are developing all the diseases we’ve seen in 9/11 first responders. At Barasch & McGarry, we believe that all victims of 9/11 deserve health benefits and compensation. We are prepared to fight for yours.

Teachers’ rights to benefits from the WTC Victim Compensation Fund

The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was initially passed in 2010 and reauthorized in 2016. The Act created two entities: the WTC Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

The WTC Health Program provide free health screenings and medical treatment for survivors of the terrorist attacks. This includes individuals who have developed illnesses due to the toxins released at Ground Zero.

The VCF  provides compensation for physical illnesses developed as a result of exposure on 9/11 and the months following. As of August 2017, the VCF reported that it made award determinations on  14,009 claims totaling more than $3 billion. The VCF lists teachers as eligible individuals in the category of Non-Responder NYC, covering people who, through ordinary employment, were in the exposure zone from September 11, 2001 to May 30, 2002. If you have a qualifying condition, you may be entitled to Zadroga Act benefits in the form of compensation and free medical care for eligible conditions.

How teachers can qualify for Zadroga Act benefits

To prove eligibility under the Zadroga Act, a teacher must satisfy two requirements:

  • Employment south of Canal Street during the 2001–2002 school year; and
  • Diagnosis of a cancer or a specific respiratory illnesses linked to the WTC’s toxic dust

Schools that were in session within the contamination zone include:

  • Pace University
  • Murry Bergtraum High School for Business Careers
  • Stuyvesant High School
  • High School of Economics and Finance
  • Leadership and Public Service High School
  • S. 234 Independence School
  • S. 124 Yung Wing Elementary School
  • S. 150 Tribeca Learning Center
  • S. 126 Jacob August Riis
  • S./I.S. 89
  • S. 1 Alfred E. Smith Elementary School

You do not have to live or work currently in the NYC area to qualify.

Spreading the word about VCF eligibility

Many survivors have left the area and now live in parts of the country where the benefits of the Zadroga Act are not widely known. Many others have been sickened but, because of the passage of time, they don’t connect their illness to 9/11. The WTC Health Program has facilities all over the country and is available to treats survivors who are no longer in the tri-state area.

For example, Catherine Heron, now retired, was a math teacher at the High School of Economics and Finance at 100 Trinity Place.  As she evacuated her students on 9/11, the second tower fell, catching them in a cloud of toxic dust. Catherine developed lung cancer in 2007, but never thought to register for the Victim Compensation fund until this year, when the United Federation of Teachers urged retired educators to enroll.

Barasch & McGarry is actively reaching out to survivors who may be suffering, to inform them of their rights. We urge you to help in those efforts.

Deadline to register for compensation has been extended

If you’ve been diagnosed with any of the 68 cancers linked to the WTC toxic dust, the deadline to apply to the Victim Compensation Fund is two years from the date that a cancer has been certified by the WTC Health Program — or any other governmental agency. Your two-year period does not start with the date of your cancer diagnosis — it only starts when you are made aware your cancer was linked to WTC exposure. If you have a loved one who died from a WTC-linked cancer, you have two years from the date of death to register for with the VCF.

 

Contact Barasch & McGarry for guidance on WTC benefits

Barasch & McGarry has been fighting for WTC survivors since the beginning and has recovered more money from the Victim Compensation Fund for its injured clients than any other law firm. To recover the benefits you and other affected teachers deserve, contact us online or by phone at 888.351.9421.

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