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As the 14th anniversary of the tragic 9/11 attacks approaches, the extension of the 9/11 James Zadroga Act established to help 9/11 survivors and responders is gaining momentum in Congress and will save lives , especially those heroes with 9/11 linked cancers.

 

The original James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act was signed into law by President Obama in early 2011. The Act established the World Trade Center Health Program, ensuring those affected by 9/11 would continue to receive medical treatment for 9/11-related health problems through at least 2015. Rescue and recovery workers as well as those who lived, worked or went to school in lower Manhattan on 9/11 and suffered injury, were eligible to receive services under the program. The administrator of the WTC Health Program is also the director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The Program is paid for by New York City and the federal government.

 

Half of the Funds Paid for 25 Percent of the 9/11 Victims

While 5,636 victims of 9/11 have received compensation for their injuries, there are another 11,770 claims, which have been deemed eligible, plus 1,373 claims, which have not yet been determined. Unfortunately, half of the allocated money has been spent, yet there are potentially more than 13,000 claims yet to be paid. This means the money will run out long before all the victims of 9/11 are compensated. Support for a permanent extension of the Zadroga Act, known as the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act, is in the works, introduced by Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney, Jerrold Nadler and Peter T. King. The Reauthorization Act would prevent the expected October 2016 shutdown of the Victim Compensation Fund.

 

House Members Lobby for Permanent Reauthorization of Zadroga Act

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney has stated support for a permanent extension of the Zadroga Act is “strong, bipartisan and growing.”  Maloney details the suffering of the 9/11 victims and first responders, noting many of them have developed severe health issues since the day of the attack, suffering immensely due to these health issues. The permanent extension of the Zadroga Act would ensure those whose lives were changed forever on 9/11 would continue to have access to desperately-needed health care.  H.R. 1786 is currently supported by more than 100 House members, with more expected to get behind the Zadroga Reauthorization Act in the near future.

 

Unfortunately, many Members of Congress who have spoken about “never forgetting” the 9/11 heroes, have failed to take a stand on this important legislation. If Congress fails to act, the VCF and WTCHP will shut down, leaving thousands of 9/11 survivors with no specialized health care for their injuries. Those who contracted or will contract 9/11-related cancers in the future would be left with absolutely no help. The companion legislation in the Senate is sponsored by 23 United States Senators. If passed, the Zadroga Reauthorization Act would continue the World Trade Center Health Program and the Victim Compensation Fund, making these programs permanent. The Act would also research new conditions, and continue New York City’s cost share.

 

9/11-Related Cancers

Since the 9/11 attacks, a significant number of first responders have developed some form of cancer. The numbers in 2014 were more than double the 1,140 cancer cases reported in 2013.  A retired New York Fire Department Captain who commandeered a city bus and got the Brooklyn Bridge closed in order to get to the towers brought Special Master Sheila Birnbaum to tears as the related his story. The captain has lung disease and inoperable pancreatic cancer due to his exposure at Ground Zero and begged Birnbaum to “rush more cases like mine, where we’re not expected to last long.” Epidemiologists say 9/11 workers developed certain cancers at a significantly higher rate than the normal population, particularly prostate and thyroid cancer, leukemia and multiple myeloma.

 

Turley, Hansen & Rosasco would like you to join us in supporting the renewal of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Should you have any questions about the Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act  or World Trade Center Health Program and the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, please feel free to call, click the chat button or contact us at the top of this page.