Nearly 15 years after the tragedy, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund has finally sent out its first batch of full compensation checks to families that suffered economic losses due to 9/11-related health problems.
The $233.4 million that went out to survivors and first responders this month is a result of Congress’ decision late last year to re-authorize the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act.
In addition to paying out $233.4 million on these early Zadroga claims, the re-authorization also pushed back the deadline to submit new claims until December 2020. This is great news for cancer victims who have not yet filed claims with the Victim Compensation Fund.
The re-authorization of the Zadroga Act also increased the program’s total funding by $4.6 billion and guaranteed health coverage to victims for the next 75 years.
The Zadroga Act, named after Detective James Zadroga, who died of a respiratory disease as a result of working nearly 500 hours at Ground Zero clearing rubble, was enacted by President Obama in 2011 to provide health coverage and financial compensation to those exposed to toxic chemicals in the wake of 9/11.
The Zadroga Act established the World Trade Center Health Program to provide medical treatment for 9/11 first responders and those living and working in the area surrounding Ground Zero, as well as the Victim Compensation Fund. As of last month, the Victim Compensation Fund had already awarded $1.8 billion to over 9000 individuals and families.
Common health conditions covered under the Zadroga Act include asthma, pulmonary disease, gastric reflux, as well as over 50 different types of cancer.
To qualify for any of the Zadroga Act programs, claimants must have resided, worked, or attended school within the “NYC Exposure Zone,” which includes the area of Manhattan below Canal Street, as well as along the routes of debris removal.
If you believe that you qualify for health coverage or financial compensation under the Zadroga Act, click here for more information on eligibility.
Birnbaum, Sheila L., “Second Annual Status Report,” September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, November 2013.
“Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs),” September 11th Victim Compensation Fund.
“James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act,” NYC.
Joseph, Cameron, Larry McShane, “Zadroga Act reauthorization finally passes through Congress; health care program extended 75 years for 9/11 first responders,” New York Daily News, 15 December 2015.
Schapiro, Rich, “More than 1,000 first-responders suffering 9/11-related health woes finally receive full compensation checks,” New York Daily News, 1 March 2016.